Rivers PDP Guber Aspirants Accuse Wike of Hijacking Party Cards, Register
Governorship aspirants on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State have accused the immediate past Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike of hijacking the party's membership register and cards to rig the forthcoming primaries.
They equally accused the state PDP chairman, Elder Felix Obuah of working with the former minister to hoard party cards and membership register.
Article 8. (1) of the PDP Constitution holds that “membership of the Party shall be open to all Nigerians who are not below the age of 18 years, and who undertake to abide by the constitution of the party.
The second part of the section states that “a register of members shall be kept at the Ward level of the party and the register shall not be removed from the ward secretarial.”
However, several aspirants told Pointblanknews.com that they would lodge a formal protest with the national secretariat on Obuah's handling of the party.
Obuah has, in contrast with PDP's principle of zoning, maintained that his state chapter will thrown open the governorship ticket to all aspirants. This position has pitted the chairman against prominent party leaders from the state who believe only people from the riverine areas and Ogoni be given the ticket.
The aspirants claimed that Obuah had so compromised his position as state chairman, that no credible congresses could be guaranteed under his leadership.
Said one of the aspirants, “Wike has converted Elder Obuah from a state PDP chairman into an errand boy.
“What happened was that when Amaechi-backed exco left with the party register, Obuah provided another register of party members. Now, by Article 8 of our party constitution, these registers are meant to be kept at ward secretariats for public view.
“Sadly, Wike directed Elder Obuah to hand him the registers of all the wards in the state. As we speak, Nyesom Wike has converted them to personal property. Ditto for the new membership cards the national secretariat gave Rivers PDP,” alleged an aspirant.
Another aspirant claimed the former minister and party chairman had been selectively issuing party membership cards to perceived supporters of his GDI group, a move he described as the height of anti-party.
“As things stand, PDP is the party in opposition in Rivers State. As an opposition party, we ought to throw our doors open to as many persons as possible. What Wike and Obuah have done is to deny people access to PDP membership, saying, 'No! You can't join PDP, go join APC!'”
The aspirants alleged that Wike had grossly abused his office as Minister of State for Education by using same to award fat education contracts to Obuah and members of his executive in exchange for becoming his “oti mkpu (cheerleaders) “
They appealed to the PDP national leadership to order the Obuah-led executive to recover the membership registers it surreptitiously handed Wike.
The aspirants also claimed that Wike, who resigned last week as minister to contest the governorship seat, was seeking to exploit the clause in the party guidelines stopping fresh membership registration a month before the primary election.
“There is a clause in the guidelines for primaries ordering the closure of the membership register a month to the primary. What Wike seeks to do, in concert with Obuah, is to ambush the other aspirants with their own doctored register,” alleged an aspirant, however stressing, “this we shall fight.”
Early in the week Obuah launched verbal missiles on a founding member of the party and member of its Board of Trusrees Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, accusing him of being an APC sympathizer.
The trustee had fired back, accusing the state chairman of hiding behind the pillar of PDP
to further Wike's political interests.
“I am a founder of PDP; I am a supporter of PDP, but not the PDP that has been hijacked and they are just camouflaging and fooling everybody”, fumed the party trustee.
He advised PDP to pick its flagbearer from the riverine or Ogoni axis of the state.
He challenged Obuah,,“The issue I want them to talk about is who takes over from Governor Amaechi? It has to be a riverine person or Ogoni person. These are the two sides that have not gotten the governorship of Rivers State.
A party leader in the state claimed that Obuah has been increasingly hostile to Graham-Douglas on account of his campaign on the impropriety of Wike seeking the governorship seat after Amaechi, a fellow Ikwerre.
When contacted, Obuah said he was in a meeting and would call back, but didn't. He also failed to respond to text messages. Pointblanknews.com later placed several calls the PDP chairman. He failed to answer them.
The immediate past minister of state for education also failed to answer the several calls placed to his line. He merely sent the typical message “I'm in a meeting”, but never returned the calls.
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