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ANXIETY IN BAYELSA PDP OVER INEC'S DECISION TO ANNUL CONGRESS

By NBF News

There is palpable anxiety among members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State over the news that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has annulled the congress held in the state.

Media reports had listed Bayelsa State among the states where INEC was questioning the conduct of the congresses, which, it said, did not follow the constitution of the PDP.

Investigations revealed that loyalists of Governor Timipre Sylva, who formed the bulk of the executive, had received the news but were not losing sleep as they were convinced that INEC was being misguided.

Sources close to the Sylva camp said they were aware of a grand plan to wrest the structure of the party from Sylva but said the plan would fail because they enjoyed grassroots support.

Reacting to the development, the Deputy Chairman of PDP in the state, Chief Daruis Obiene, said there was no cause for alarm, as INEC did not have powers to dissolve duly elected state executives.

According to him, 'it is worrisome that INEC is not bothered about what happens in the other 50 political parties in Bayelsa State but is concentrating only on PDP.'

Obiene advised the leadership of INEC to be properly guided so that they would not take decisions that would portray it as biased.

'When has INEC sat to discuss the congresses of the other political parties in Bayelsa State? And why is the focus only on us.? We were duly elected in a congress that was held at the Women Affairs auditorium. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC was present, as we invited INEC to come and observe the congress. Everything was on tape and properly documented. We have stayed for two years and there was no problem, it is now when election is approaching that INEC is talking. But I want to tell you that we have no problem because our executive is on ground.'

Also speaking, a chieftain of the PDP, Mr. Fred Agbedi claimed he still remained the chairman since the congress that brought Chief Rufus Abadi in as chairman was illegal. He added that INEC's position had vindicated the position of his executive.

Agbedi, in an interview, said from day one, they had been shouting that there was no congress held in Bayelsa State but because the former national chairman, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, encouraged illegality, the illegal executive was recognized.

He reiterated that his executive was still in place, as their four-year tenure had not expired before an illegal congress was held in the state.

In his own reaction, Abadi said he had no problem with the INEC decision, adding, however, that until a new congress was held he remains party chairman.

He pointed out that whenever a new congress would be held, he would not contest again as chairman because he had been through a lot in the past few months.

'I don't have any problem with the position of INEC. I cannot go and quarrel with them. If they want to conduct another congress, let them go ahead, but I am not going to contest again,' he added.