Paul Osuyi, Asaba
There is palpable fear among some aspirants on the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta North senatorial district (Anioma) over alleged plans to impose candidates on the party for the general election in 2019.
This is despite repeated assurances by the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa who hails from the area, and the state chairman of the party, Kingsley Esiso, of a level playing field that will lead to free, fair and credible primaries.
But investigation revealed that aspirants particularly for this state House of Assembly do not have confidence in the governor’s assurance but rather see such pronouncement as mere smokescreen.
Saturday Sun investigation revealed that plans were at advanced stages across the various constituencies to allegedly manipulate the process so as to ensure the emergence of the governor’s secretly anointed candidates.
Sources revealed that the governor’s henchmen, most of whom are his appointees have been instructed in what to do in connivance with the leadership of the party in the state for the anointed candidates to have a smooth sail during the primaries.
READ ALSO: Over 200 bikers to storm Ebonyi Sept. 28
Some of the aspirants are said to beaming with confidence having secured the assurance of the party leadership as anointed candidates.
But in Aniocha north constituency, those being accused of executing the governor’s alleged directive, denied it saying that the era of imposition is over in the PDP.
Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Emma Chinye and Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Peace Building and Rural Development, Jaunty Okwudi said the governor never directed them to work for any of the aspirant.
While Mr. Chinye said he is not even a delegate to the primaries even though he has his personal interest, Okwudi, a founding member of the party and former council chairman said the PDP will not repeat its past mistakes.
“As a grassroots politician, I make bold to say categorically that there is nothing like imposition of candidate. The party in Aniocha north is wise more than ever before to make the mistakes of the past,” Okwudi said.
Also, reacting to the growing anxiety among aspirants in the party, state chairman, Kingsley Esiso told our correspondent on Friday that nobody including himself and the governor instructed anybody to deliver any anointed candidate.
Esiso said, “Nobody has instructed anybody to deliver any candidate but in politics, there is what we call interest and interest is natural. When somebody goes about propagating his own interest, it does not mean that the governor instructed him.
“You cannot say because I am chairman, I should not have interest even in my constituency. Off course I will keep my interest to myself but I cannot tell other party men not to express their interests.
“Everyone is free to go about and propagate his or her interest but nobody has instructed like it is being bandied about. The delegates are already known and the aspirants should concentrate on wooing them. It is going to be a popularity contest not imposition.”
The party chairman added that some of the aspirants have adopted the strategy of name dropping to swing delegates’ support, and urged those complaining to device their own method of convincing the delegates to vote them during the primaries.
He added, “I can assure you that the governor did not instruct anybody and I did not instruct anybody. The delegates for the party are already known, so how you woo them is your business as an aspirant.
“Don’t bother yourself about what your opponent is doing by dropping the governor’s name or the party chairman’s name, it is a strategy. You should also device your own strategy because the governor will not be there to vote if he is not from your constituency.”