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By NBF News
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The National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) slated for March 24, might be embroiled in legal dispute, as eight aggrieved contestants from Imo State have threatened a court action to stop the convention if the issue of their exclusion is not sorted out by the party.

Already, one of the affected candidates, Chief Okey Uzoho who is vying for the post of National Publicity Secretary of the party has petitioned the acting National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Kawu Baraje on the issue of his exclusion.

Other affected people who are vying for various national offices in the party, Mrs. Comfort C. Ozichukwu, Mr. Regis Uwakwe; Captain David Mbamala (retd), Chukwuemeka Kanu, Mrs. Ugochi Nnanna Okoro, Dr. Gloria Chukwukere and Chief Chris Njoku.

They had bought their nomination forms and submitted same before the closing date for the return of nomination forms, but to their dismay, the party has refused to accept their forms on the grounds of late submissions of the said forms.

The aggrieved contestants are having the backings of the Imo State Chairman of the party, Chief Eze Duruiheoma (SAN) who has equally filed a petition on the subject matter before the acting national chairman of the party.

In his petition dated March 18, and entitled, 'Nomination Forms Received by Imo chapter of the party' Chief Duruiheoma reads: 'I wish to confirm that the persons, whose names appear hereunder, and who are vying for various national offices in our party bought their nomination forms from us and duly submitted same to us before the closing date for the return of nomination forms.

'On our part, we have at our expense, submitted the forms to the office of the National Organizing Secretary.

'I am informed that the office is having trouble accepting the forms because, according to it, they were submitted late.

I think the allegation of late submission is wrong and without basis because in accepting the forms from the candidates, the Imo State Chapter of the party acted as an agent of the National Office. As I said earlier, each one of them submitted his or forms to us before Saturday March 10.'

On his part, Chief Uzoho, a legal practitioner and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in 1993, has called on the party to give internal democracy a chance by allowing every candidate to participate in the election.

In his petition dated March 19, entitled: 'My wrongful and unlawful exclusion from contesting for the post of National Publicity Secretary of the party,' Chief Uzoho said after complying with the relevant rules guiding the purchase and return of nomination forms, he was shocked to discover that his name was excluded from the list of candidates for the post.

'On enquiry, the Imo State Chairman of the PDP, Eze Duruiheoma (SAN) informed me that my form was transmitted to the national headquarters along with seven other nomination forms submitted at the PDP secretariat, Imo State but were rejected alleging late submission.

'Sir, I know that the state secretariat of the PDP, Imo State is a part and parcel of the PDP office, and having submitted my form there before the deadline as directed both by the national headquarters and the PDP secretariat at Owerri from where I collected the form in the first place, I cannot be held culpable for late submission assuming that is the case, by the PDP Imo State.'

'I most humbly urge you to employ your good offices to ensure I am not wrongly and unlawfully excluded from a contest for which I have invested so much time, energy and resources. It would be most unjust if that happened, especially now that all eyes are on our great party.'

He said he has all it takes to re-invigorate and unabashedly project the positive image of the party and should be allowed to contest.