From Boniface Okoro, Umuahia
As the primary elections to choose candidates that would fly its flags in the various 2023 elections commence today, some governorship aspirants in Abia State have advised the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be wary of shooting itself on the foot.
They asked the NWC to take immediate action to prevent an “impending implosion” of the party in the state.
The aspirants who would not want their names in print were reacting to a directive from the PDP National Secretariat, to the effect that only elected delegates were qualified to participate in the primaries.
The directive was contained in a statement signed by the Nationa Organising Secretary of party, Hon. Umar M. Bature, entitled “Use of Elected Delegates For The Primaries And National Convention.”
The statement reads: “By virtue of Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022, delegates to vote at the Indirect Primaries and National Convention of political parties to elect candidates for elections shall be those democratically elected for that purpose only.
“Consequently, those qualified and eligible to vote as delegates in the forthcoming Primaries and National Convention of our great Party, the PDP, are the three (3) AD-HOC Delegates per ward, elected at the Ward Congresses and one (1) National Delegate per Local Government, elected at the Local Government Area Congresses.
“Furthermore, the NWC wishes to inform our Party members that the State Houses of Assembly Primaries to elect our State House of Assembly candidates, earlier scheduled for Saturday, May 21, 2022 will now hold on Sunday, May 22, 2022 from 8:00am to 12 noon; while the House of Representatives Primaries to elect our House of Representatives candidates will also hold on Sunday, May 22, 2022 from 2:00 pm.
All aspirants, critical stakeholders, leaders and teeming members of our Party should please take note.”
Reacting to the National Secretariat’s directive, some of the aspirants, said that the party should have provided a caveat for some states, like Abia, where the 3-man Ward Ad-hoc delegates did not hold.
“I want to hope that the position of NWC will not be of general application. It’ll be suicidal not to make exceptions with regards to states where the 3-man delegates elections did not hold,” one of the governorship aspirants said.
According to the aspirant, the NWC knows the implication of conducting the primaries with a procured fake list of delegates which would bring to a nullity, any election conducted with the participation of such fake delegates, who insisted that Abia should be excluded from that directive safeguard the fortunes of PDP in the state.
It would be recalled that a group of Governorship and House of Representatives aspirants including, the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator Emma Nwaka, Engr. Enyinnaya Nwafor and Mr. Ncheta Omerekpe, among othes, had stormed the National headquarters of PDP to inform the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP that no three-man delegate congress was held in Abia state.
“There was not and has never been any Ward Congress to elect the 3-man Adhoc delegates in Abia State. The congress, earlier scheduled to hold on 30th April, 2022 due to a court order could not hold and was re-scheduled to hold on May 4th 2022. It also failed to hold on that date because of a public holiday declared in Abia State and since then none has been held, neither has there been any communication for another congress by PDP National Headquarters,” they said
“We heard via rumours that there is a list of delegates flying around and in the custody of the NWC purporting it to have been a product of a congress held on 6th May 2022.
It is preposterous that what is being bandied as a list emanated from an imaginary congress conducted vide a letter of notice to the Abia State resident electoral commissioner signed by the Abia State Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Allwell Asiforo Okere. The implication being that the functions of NEC and NWC was performed by a State Chairman of the party and NOT the National Chairman and Secretary.
“Our great party, should therefore disregard any of such list especially now that INEC has come forward to clarify that it neither received any communication from the PDP National Chairman and the National Secretary to participate nor did it monitor any such exercise as required by both the INEC Guidelines for Political Parties Section 1.2 which stipulates a mandatory 7-day notice to INEC and Section 82(5) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“The National Legal adviser, we believe, knows the implications of going ahead to use such legally unknown delegates in the primary elections and should advise the NWC accordingly, unless the party wants to enjoy the unenviable luxury of walking towards self destruction, they added.
But the Abia State PDP Executive Committee has insisted that the Wrad Delegates Congress held on May 6, 2022.
A statement by the Vice Chairman (North) of the Abia PDP, Chief Amah Abraham, in Umuahia Saturday said that the House of Assembly and House of Representatives primaries would hold today in the state as scheduled.