The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is expected to look into petitions by chieftains of the party in Abia State alleging rigging of the three ad hoc delegates’ selection process for the party’s primaries in the state.
The PDP three ad hoc delegates election in Abia State was cancelled following irregularities and controversy over its conduct. There was to be a fresh election, but instead of it, a list emerged purportedly to be those elected in an election that never took place.
One of those believed to have petitioned the PDP NWC is former Senate President Chief Adolphus Wabara and former Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, who are members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT).
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The petitions by the duo stated that no election was conducted for the three ad hoc delegates while asking the national leadership to do the proper thing of rejecting whatever list sent to it and directing proper conduct of the election.
Also, former Secretary of State Government in Abia Dr Eme Okoro, petitioned the national chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, alleging breach of PDP guidelines for primary elections.
He said in the letter: “I write this Petition as a stakeholder and as an elder statesman who has made it a point of duty not to sit down and watch few individuals who do not have the interest of our great party at heart to destroy same because of personal and selfish interests.
“I bring this petition to you in view of the imminent and looming calamity that may befall our great party in Abia State as a result of the actions of the Abia State Chapter of the Party in seeking to disregard our party’s laid down guidelines for the conduct of the primary election.
“The Abia State leadership of the party in total disregard of the said guidelines is seeking to impose and or unilaterally compile the list of the three (3) ad-hoc delegates who are to participate in the primary election for the House of Assembly, National Assembly and Gubernatorial candidates in preparation for the 2023 General Election without following the due process of conducting an election for their emergence in the different Wards of the State in accordance with the People’s Democratic Party Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections 2022.
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“To make matters worse, devoted and registered members of our party who indicated interest to stand for election for the three ad-hoc delegates in their different wards have been denied the opportunity of doing same as the Abia State Leadership …has concluded arrangements not to hold the election for the said three ad-hoc delegates and has unilaterally compiled the names they desire in place of the three ad-hoc delegates and this has led to several litigations pending in different courts.
“This action of the Abia State leadership if not checked and the state leadership called to order is likely
to cause great harm and misfortune to our party in the 2023 General Election as can be seen in what happened in Rivers, Zamfara and some other States of the federation.
“I hereby appeal to you to use your good office to call the Abia State leadership of the party to order and to see that the proper steps are taken in accordance with the Peoples Democratic Party Electoral guidelines for Primary Elections 2022 in respect of the three ad-hoc delegates that will participate in the state primaries as same will avert the consequential catastrophe and further boost the confidence of the members who would be disenfranchised if the act of recklessness of the state leadership is allowed to stand.”
Barr David Iro, Secretary of Abia State PDP, also stated that no delegates election was conducted anywhere in Abia. He said that the days fixed for it were public holidays and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that it will not work on those days, while the police did not even receive an official letter by the party requesting police presence and therefore both did not monitor any election.
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The lawyer said: “On the first day of the congress, the team from Abuja did not come. The second day when it was scheduled was a public holiday. And when we sent notice of the congress, INEC, said they were on public holidays and could not come.
“We also took our notice to the police. They said the office of the Commissioner of Police was not open to receiving our letter.
“Then before we went on two-day lockdown the congress did not hold. We left the party secretariat together with our chairman.
“So, when I see people say we have held congress, I wonder where they are getting their information from. Well, all those things are rumours and speculations.
“As far as I’m concerned, as the Secretary of Abia PDP, we have not held any three-man delegate congress in Abia.”
It was gathered that the three ad hoc delegates’ election was not held, but a list was compiled to be presented as elected delegates.
Sources said the compilation of the list was done by state government officials last week Wednesday to ensure that only allies of the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, participate in the primary in order to return his preferred aspirant as PDP candidate for the governorship election.
There has been disaffection in PDP ever since the plot by Governor Ikpeazu to have his preferred aspirant from Isiala Ngwa become the governorship candidate, against the rotation arrangement in the state.
Owing to the breach of the rotation arrangement, many PDP members in Abia State have threatened to vote against the preferred candidate of the governor in the governorship election if he emerges as the PDP candidate.
Rival political parties especially the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) are already witnessing an influx of new members as PDP stalwarts, who are unhappy with what they see as the imposition of candidates, are defecting.