Controversies trail PDP congresses in Oyo, Anambra others

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Alhaji Adamu Mu'azu, national chairman of PDP in Nigeria
Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, national chairman of PDP in Nigeria

Controversies trailed various congresses of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in many states of the federation on Saturday.

NAN reports that the controversies emanated because different factions of PDP have openly disputed the outcome of their congresses as announced by the various electoral officers assigned to conduct the exercise in some states.

However, few other states were without any controversies as the congresses went on peacefully.

In Oyo State, the three leading gubernatorial aspirants laid claim to victory. NAN reports that the leading aspirants, former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Senator Teslim Folarin and Mr Seyi Makinde all claimed to have won the congress.

It was gathered that the distribution of materials was disrupted at the PDP secretariat after materials had been distributed to 21 out of the 33 councils in the state.

However, the congress was peacefully conducted in Saki, Ibarapa, Ogbomoso and Oyo areas of the state.

The leading aspirants had accused each other of disrupting the distribution of materials at the party’s secretariat.

Dr Kola Balogun, a close associate of Alao-Akala, said that there was no basis for his boss to have disrupted the distribution of materials when he was already winning.

Also, Alhaji Akeem Azeez, the Media Aide to Makinde, said that the disruption was unknown to them, adding that his principal was winning from reports gathered.

He said that supporters of Folarin were absent at the various voting centres, adding that they had video clips of the congress.

However, Mr Sunday Babalola, the Coordinator of the Folarin Campaign group said that his principal won the congress, alleging that the distribution of materials was disrupted by the Alao-Akala group.

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However, all the telephone calls NAN made to the State Chairman, Alhaji Yinka Taiwo and Mr Kehinde Salawu, the Public Relations Officer were unanswered as at the time of filing this report.

In Anambra, the congress was held in the 326 wards of the state in spite of the confusion that trailed the leadership of the party in recent times.

However, police took over Chief Ken Emeakayi’s secretariat at Udoka Housing Estate in the capital city to ward off any impending disruption from any opposition.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which had earlier written a letter to the National Secretariat of PDP over the leadership crisis, monitored the congresses in all the 21 Local Government Areas of the state.

INEC had written to the party, recognising the Ejike Oguebego’s leadership of PDP in the state, saying the congress that produced him as chairman of the party sometime ago was the only one the commission monitored in Anambra.

The commission in Awka said the ward congresses of the PDP were conducted without any hitch.

INEC’s Public Relations Officer, Frank Egbo said that the commission’s staff monitored all the wards in the 21 Local government areas of the state.

“INEC is not a member of any political party, what we are doing is in line with INEC’s guidelines and nothing more.

“If PDP has a problem, it does not concern us, we have carried out our own function,” Egbo said.

The State Police Command, however, said it did not seal off PDP office; rather police were there to make sure there was no breakdown of law and order.

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The police image maker in the state, DSP Uche Ezeh, said that the issue of sealing off the office should not arise because they wanted a peaceful environment.

The exercise, which started at 10:00 a.m. was carried out in all the 326 wards in the 21 local government areas and for the first time without fracas.

Meanwhile, the PDP office in Udoka, which housed the Chief Ken Emeakayi’s office, was under lock and key as security operatives took over the entire environment.

Emeakayi’s tenure was said to have ended on 24 October, which was said to have been dissolved by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).

This reportedly gave way for Ejike Oguebego to take over the leadership of the party in the state.

During the congresses, three persons were elected in each of the 326 wards in the 21 local government areas in the state.

Some of the party’s local government chairmen, who spoke with reporters, including Mr Humphrey Ezeike (Aguata), Mr Nnamdi Ikeomor (Ayamelum), Ogwo Gerard (Anaocha), and Livinus Nwokike, were all happy that the ‘war’ was over.

According to Ikeomor and Nwokike, “we thank God that the exercise went peacefully in our different council areas and we believe it will be the same way during the state congress.”

However, in Imo, the late distribution of election materials may affect the outcome of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegate election which held in Imo on Saturday 1 November.

Scores of PDP members from 27 local government areas of Imo were seen still waiting to collect election materials as at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Distribution of materials to councils commenced at about 3:30 p.m. with local governments in Okigwe senatorial district, followed by those from Orlu and finally councils under the Owerri district.

Some governorship aspirants like ex-governor, Ikedi Ohakim, Chief Ifeanyi Araraume, Sen. Chris Anyanwu and Sen. Hope Uzodimma (Imo West) seeking re-election and scores of other aspirants were sighted at the PDP state office.

The huge crowd at the PDP office made the place to look like a mini market as many food vendors made brisk businesses selling roasted yam, rice and snacks, among others.

A similar scenario played itself out also in Cross River as to late distribution of materials delayed the exercise.

At the state PDP secretariat in Calabar, sensitive and non-sensitive materials were distributed at the secretariat at about 3.30 pm.

The materials were distributed to contiguous local government areas like Calabar Municipality and Calabar South.

NAN also reports that people were sighted waiting for materials by 4.30 p.m.

Also, election is likely not holding today in Central and North which are far from Calabar, the state capital.

A check at Ward 4 in Presbyterian Church of Nigeria Primary School ground, Calabar Municipality, showed that the delegate election went on smoothly.

Mr Ntiero Bassey, a chieftain of PDP in the state and a member of Ward 4 Electoral Committee, promised a free and transparent voting system.

He urged the people to be orderly and to vote for credible delegates that would participate in the primaries proper.

Earlier, Mr Joe Bisong, the party’s Publicity Secretary, told NAN that the party’s hierarchy in the state had deployed relevant ad hoc staff to 196 wards in the 18 local government areas for the exercise.

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