Confusion trails Anambra congress, as delegates allege altering of list
By Vincent Ujumadu, Anayo Okoli & Peter Okutu
UMUAHIA—AHEAD of Saturday’s national convention of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the South East Zonal Caucus of the party met in Umuahia, Monday, to harmonize the position of the zone on issues pertaining to the election of new national chairman for the party.
Speaking after the closed-door meeting, the zonal national Vice Chairman of the party, Chief Austin Umahi, explained that the meeting was summoned for the zone to have “strategic and specific position, as we cannot enter Abuja like sheep without a shepherd.”
Umahi said: “we should be setting the pace for others to follow, hence the zone needs to know its aspirants, the direction it is going and why the direction was chosen.
“It is very important that as a zone, we meet to iron out some issues, and it was a very good deliberation, very fantastic and attended by governors, Deputy Senate President, National Assembly members, all the state chairmen, all the states working committees and BOTs.
“We must know our stake; we have played politics without proper direction and we cannot afford to play that politics again.”
It was learnt that the meeting was for the party to resolve the crisis rocking Imo State chapter of the party and it was agreed that the meeting would be rotated around the states in the zone as a way to “strengthen the party in the zone.”
Chief Umahi however refused to disclose the positions members from the zone would be contesting for in 2019, saying “when we get to the bridge, we will cross it. For now, we are talking of elective convention and we cannot start discussing anything outside that, which comes in less than a week.”
He expressed hope that the zone would expect the best from the convention to be chaired by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
Confusion trails Anambra congress
Meantime, despite efforts to bring sanity into the troubled Anambra State branch of the PDP, ahead of its national convention, confusion still trailed the state congress of the party yesterday, as one of the state chairmanship aspirants, Chief Kodilichukwu Okelekwe rejected the outcome and described the exercise as a sham.
An Awka-based businessman, Chief Ndubisi Nwobu emerged the state chairman at the congress held at its state headquarters in Awka, where 21 officials were elected for various positions.
The confusion, however, arose when the delegates observed that the delegates’ list was allegedly doctored, which led to chaos during election.
Also, members of the National Assembly from the state elected on the platform of the party were conspicuously absent during the congress, with a party chieftain saying that the lawmakers boycotted the state congress to protest the alleged doctoring of the delegates’ list.
In a statement yesterday in Awka, Okelekwe said that the Professor Osita Ogbu-led committee sent by the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, to conduct the congress was sidelined by those he described as “some forces in the state, who hijacked the exercise.”
He appealled to the PDP NWC to intervene and ensure that a credible state congress was conducted as provided in the party’s constitution, so as to save the party from the lingering crisis that had been its bane bane in the state since 2003.
there was no way what transpired in Awka as state congress could stand.
He said: “As a loyal and core party man who will always want to see that we follow the dictates of our party constitution , I wish to state that when I noticed that the delegates list was doctored , I raised an objection because we cannot conduct party state congress with a fake delegates list and expect to get it right.
“If there was to be PDP state congress election, at least the electoral panel sent by the party NEC will be the one to conduct the election and announce the result in line with PDP Constitution 2012 as amended.
“In this case, the Prof Osita Ogbu- led Anambra State PDP Congress Electoral Panel sent by the party headquarters in line with Section 31, sub-section 2(j) were not at the party state secretariat, not to talk of conducting and announcing the result of the election.
“It is important to note that no other body is empowered to conduct the election and announce same outside the panel led by Prof Osita Ogbu .
“Without holding brief for our members in the National Assembly and other critical stakeholders, they were all absent, which may not be unconnected with the issue of the delegates’ list.
“On pointing out some of the above- mentioned issues ,the aspirant who was behind the sham sent one of his thugs to forcefully collect microphone from me, which also got the microphone damaged in the process .
“It was at this point that supporters of the aspirant started shouting that he had won by throwing their hands in the air.
“ It is also worthy of note that while all these were going on , the real delegates of our party were sitting down patiently, waiting for the Prof Osita Ogbu- led panel to come and initiate the process of electing members of the state executive in line with the party’s electoral guideline .
“Let it be known that the election did not hold and I was even surprised to have seen some names in the social media as those purportedly elected from a congress that did not hold.
“I therefore call on the National Working Committee of PDP to fix a date for Anambra State Congress after the national convention so that PDP in our state can move forward.”
Nwobu, the new state chairman could not be reached at press time for reaction, but some people seen at the party’s state secretariat told Vanguard that with the election over, the state branch of PDP was set to join other state branches for the weekend’s national convention.