Crises mark PDP ward congresses

By The Citizen

Irregularities were recorded in the Peoples Democratic Party's ward congress held nationwide on Saturday.

The congress was to vote delegates that would elect candidates of the party for the 2015 elections.

In Akwa Ibom State, one person was feared dead and two went into coma when two factions of the party from Eastern Obolo Local Government Area of the state engaged each another in scuffle.

It was learnt that security men had to shoot sporadically into the air and dispensed teargas canisters to disperse the crowd during the PDP Ward Congress for the election of three ad hoc delegates in Uyo on Saturday.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Gabriel Ochong, however, said no one was killed during the incident, acknowledging, however, that some people were injured.

The state Governor, Godswill Akpabio, expressed satisfaction with the turnout of people. He added that the turnout was the result of open playing field for all those seeking elective offices.

There was confusion in Enugu State during the congress.

Our correspondent gathered that the development was due to an impasse occasioned by the crisis in the state chapter of the party, following the resignation of the former chairman, Vita Abba.

Two factions are laying claim to the leadership of the party in the state.

While the Governor Sullivan Chime-backed PDP State Executive Committee is insisting that Ikeje Asogwa is the party chairman, the camp of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu is backing the deputy chairman, Elder David Ajah, who had been endorsed by the National Working Committee of the party as the acting chairman.

Our correspondent observed that both camps waited for the arrival of electoral officials and materials from Abuja for most part of the day.

In Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, the police took over PDP's secretariat to forestall breakdown of law and order during the ward congress.

Our correspondent, who monitored the congresses, observed that there were complaints about the compilation of the list of the ad hoc delegates.

A former member of the Senate, Senator Ayo Arise, who spoke with journalists, alleged that Governor Ayodele Fayose, 'did not allow any congress to hold here in Ekiti-North Senatorial district.

He further alleged that, 'He (Fayose) had already compiled the list of delegates in favour of my challenger, Duro Faseyi. As I am talking to you, the chairmen of all the wards and local governments have been summoned to Ado-Ekiti by the governor to sign the forged lists.'

But the Acting State Chairman, PDP, Mr. Taelolu Otitoju, in an interview with journalists, said he was not aware of any rancour in the congress.

He said the committee from the PDP National Secretariat led by Abubakar Mukhtar was on the field to monitor the situation.

Fayose also denied doctoring the list of ad hoc delegates that emerged from the congress.

It was a similar case in Ogun, as the state PDP Chairman, Adebayo Dayo, raised the alarm over attempts by some returnees to the party to hijack the party primaries.

He said this while speaking with journalists to review the exercise across the 236 wards in the state.

Dayo said the returnee PDP leaders collated separate forms of delegates, aside from the ones legally obtained by the contestants at the party's secretariat, trying to manipulate the process.

But he did not mention the names of the leaders.
Dayo explained that the groups failed to submit their forms before deadline and later brought them for submission in order to cause confusion within the party.

No fewer than 16 PDP governorship aspirants in Rivers State boycotted the congress.

About 14 of the aspirants had organised a rally to express their grievances over the decision of the state executive of the party not to zone governorship position in the state to any area. Punch