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Why PDP Govs rejected party's online registration

Source: pointblanknews.com

It has emerged that the rejection of the proposed online membership registration of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by governors elected on the party's platform was borne out of the fear that such an exercise would make them lose significant control of the party structure in their states.

Apart from moving to delist such political appointees as ministers, advisers, assistants, commissioners and chairmen of corporations, as statutory delegates in party conventions and primary elections, the new PDP national chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo had recently announced the introduction of e-registration for party members.

Nwodo, who had recently barred PDP-elected governors from visiting his house in Citec Villa Estate, Gwarinpa, Abuja, had decried the undue advantage which he said automatic delegates confer on governors during conventions and party primaries. He had affirmed the party's resolve to provide a “level playing field” for all contestants.

Incensed by Nwodo's position, the governors on Tuesday barred their fangs by snubbing their national chairman when he made attempts to meet with them. “Three times he (Nwodo) came to see us at Kwara (governor's) lodge, and the three times they (governors) didn't even allow him cross the gate let alone enter to speak with us,” a source close to the Governor's Forum told Pointblanknews.com.

Brushing aside the protestations, the party on Tuesday proceeded with the exercise by issuing the first ever e-card to President Goodluck Jonathan, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

However, commenting on the brewing face-off between Nwodo and the governors, a party official told Pointblanknews.com that “it was wrong for our chairman to have blackmailed the governors with a blanket ban on visiting his house, when the only governor we know that has been trying to bring Ghana-must-go bags to bribe him is Ikedi Ohakim (of Imo State).”

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The official disclosed that, the visit ban aside, some governor's position that the e-registration would be fraught with problems because some members in rural areas won't have access to the internet was merely “lame and self-serving.”

He said: “From experience, governors have always used membership cards to control party membership. If you send, say 200,000 party cards to state ABC, we all know that some governors, through their state party executives, would take control of over 90 per cent of the cards so that the cards don't get to those opposed to him, thereby scheming them out.

“These same governors see nothing wrong with adopting e-payments in their states. They also see nothing wrong with the e-passports being issued by our Immigration officials, so why the fuss on e-registration?” queried the party official, adding, “it is simply because they cannot control a membership exercise conducted on the internet.”

Meanwhile, an official of the Presidency has disclosed what he said was the increasing worry over the growing frosty relationship between the Presidency and some governors, particularly those of the president's south-south region.

“We know the President is not in good terms with his home governor, Sylva. But, there are also worries that all may not be well between him and (Governor Rotimi) Amaechi (of Rivers State). Even when some of us know he was the one who rallied his colleagues to make the zone declare support for Mr. President's aspiration in 2011, we nonetheless get reports that he is not trusted because of his closeness to (Governor) Bukola Saraki,” said the official.

The official cautioned that the worry was heightened by the recent attempt by an aggrieved group in Rivers PDP led by former governor Peter Odili and former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, ostensibly with “federal backing”, to convene an illegal party meeting in Port Harcourt. “But for the maturity of the governor, the situation would have gone out of hand,” noted the official.

“If the same group (Odili and Opara), after several attempts, couldn't convince the national chairman to dissolve the Rivers PDP exco, one wonders who provided the platform and cover for them to storm the state to attempt such an illegality?” questioned the official.

He however expressed optimism that some elders of the party from the zone had been intimated on the souring of relationship, and that they were poised to address the problem “so that the South-south can provide a common front before and after the national convention.”