From GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka
As confusion and condemnation trail Monday’s ward congresses of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, some of the governorship aspirants have described the exercise as a sham and embarrassing.
They therefore called on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to put another date for a repeat of the congress.
The aspirants had also berated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for deliberately causing confusion in the party with the statement it publicised in the morning of the ward congress and wondered when it had become the duty of the electoral body to appoint state chairmen for political parties.
Some of the aspirants, who spoke through their lieutenants, decried what happened on Monday, describing it as breach of agreement and trust. They noted that it was agreed by all that there would be free and fair congress, which was reaffirmed by the entire aspirant that attended the peace rally on Saturday. They regretted that those entrusted with the job by the NWC messed it up.
Jerry Ugokwe said his people waited endlessly without seeing any material for the election, stressing that nothing happened in his area.
Dr. Tony Macfoy Akachukwu of the Tony Nwoye Campaign Organisation said: “There was deliberate attempt to scuttle and undermine the aspirations of PDP in Anambra State because two nights ago, those who were to conduct the elections in various places came in. They were already on ground as at yesterday (Monday). So by yesterday (Monday), all the party faithful assembled at their various wards across the state. Prior to that, there was an agreement that materials should be sent straight to the wards and that was why, three days ago, there was a publication about locations and personnel to conduct the election.
“To our surprise, they assembled buses at the Marble Arch Hotel and said the materials should go to the local governments. We said no; this was not the agreement. One of the agreements was that as soon as the primaries were held, all the results will be declared at the wards and the parties will have the copies of the result and there will be video to record the proceedings, but non of that was observed.
“Two o’clock, three o’clock, we were hearing about complications, that there was a parallel congress going on, about the Oguebego group and that INEC went to observe the election. INEC did not come to observe the PDP national headquarters delegated elections and there was confusion.”
Akachukwu stated that the committee seemed to have selected where they conducted the election, noting that at Ihiala Local Government Area, Nnewi North, Ekwusigo, Anambra West, Anambra East, and so many other local governments nobody was there to conduct the election.
He said: “This is not what will count for the revival of PDP, because the idea was let’s have a free and fair election; whosoever emerges would be led to the election, but we saw the Oguebego group doing its own at one side and the Emeakayi group doing another side. INEC said they were not going to recognise what the Emeakayi group was doing.”
I don’t know when INEC became the spokesman. There was a court judgment that Oguebego never held any congress. He was not even elected as a chairman in the first instance.”
Insisting that no congress held on Monday, he said what happened was embarrassing and that those who did it deliberately wanted people to leave PDP and join other parties and for PDP to face another failure, “especially with the force APC is coming with; it will be disastrous for PDP and we are saying that they still have between and August 24 to conduct a transparent ward congress.”
Mr. Ugochukwu Adilije, a member of Enyioha Campaign Organisation lamented that PDP had not got its acts together and asked that the matter be looked into by the NWC properly.
He noted that in many places nothing happened, but results were brought for such places, saying: “When we called our coordinators across the state, some of them at 6. 30pm, have not seen anybody, but to our greatest amusement they were sending in results from where election did not take place; so it is amusing, the confusion and the whole thing is a sham.”