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PDP State Assembly Primaries: Discordant tunes from states

By The Citizen

Ahead of the 2015 election, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday conducted its primaries for the House Of Assembly seats across the country, amidst discordant tunes from different factions. The outcome of the primaries has further revealed loopholes within the party structure and the need for proper reconciliation in the states ahead of the main election.

In Abia State, the eldest son of governor Theodore Orji, Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, emerged as candidate in the Umuahia Central Constituency seat for the State House of Assembly in the primary held at the School Road Primary School, Umuahia. Young Orji won 10 of the 11 votes cast by the delegates that included his father, governor Orji, to beat two other contestants, Mr. Adighije Maduakolam and George Uwalaka, while one of the votes was voided.

Babajide Obanikoro, son of the former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, emerged winner of the House of Assembly primaries for Etiosa Constituency 2 in Lagos. He scored 18 votes to defeat his rival, Muyiwa Ariyo, who scored nine votes.

Obanikoro, who was returned winner of the primaries conducted in a very peaceful atmosphere, by the returning officers, Mr Akinwale Shamsudeen and Miss Raheem Olaide, expressed appreciation to the delegates, adding that outcome showed that voters have the final say. He said he was looking forward to the state House of Assembly election on February 28, 2015. Contrary to assumption the PDP primaries would be marred in crises, voting, in many locations was peaceful.

A last minute power tussle may have led to the cancellation of the House of Assembly primaries of the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, scheduled to hold yesterday, according to a faction of the party, even as another faction claim to have emerged winners in the primaries.

The chairman of the PDP electoral panel Akeem Animasaun, confirmed that the primaries had been cancelled. He affirmed that he was appointed to oversee the disputed primaries, adding that he was yet to be given the delegates' list and documents with which he would conduct the primaries.

He said the cancellation might be as a result of crisis in the party, which, he said, would soon be resolved.

Despite the ruling last Friday of an Abuja Federal High Court that recognised only the Ebenezer Alabi-led executive as the authentic leadership of the PDP in Ondo State, the group of defectors, led by the state governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, held a separate primary election for aspirants into the House of Assembly seats on the party's platform.

The parallel congress to pick the candidates were held in separate locations by the two factions of the party in all the 26 state constituencies, confirming the fear that despite the legal position, the party may have slumped further into the crisis of leadership since the defection of the governor from his erstwhile Labour Party (LP).

In Cross River State, the primaries produced 25 consensus candidates for the 2015 elections. From all indications, a faction of the party loyal to the Senate Leader, Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, did not participate. They withdrew from the race as the national body of the party had annulled the first congress that was won by the Ndoma-Egba led group and went ahead to recognise the list of the second primaries won by Governor Liyel Imoke's group.

Commenting on the primaries, the Director General of the Ndoma-Egba campaign team, Chief Ernest Irek, said they could not have participated in a one sided primaries that deliberately excluded a section of the party in favour of the governor. The Ndoma-Egba team had also pulled out of the second congress.

Meanwhile, Ebonyi State Government gave reasons why the primary election earlier scheduled for yesterday could not hold as in other states.

In a statement issued by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Dr. Onyekachi Eni, the government disclosed that the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) had in response to certain developments in the party in four states decided to postpone the primary election to a later date.

The government regretted that despite the party's positions some disgruntled politicians in the state have continued 'the deliberate acts of misinformation and falsehood' to blackmail the party and sow the seed of discord.

While pointing out that Ebonyi, Adamawa, Taraba and Ondo states were affected by the postponement, the state government expressed dismay that 'some desperate politicians and agents of falsehood went to some media houses to announce that the primaries would hold as part of a pre-mediated plan to cook up a fictitious list of candidates as the outcome of such exercise.'

However, despite the reversal by PDP leadership, the group loyal to former Governor Sam Egwu said the Ben Collins Ndu-primary electoral committee conducted free and fair primaries in the 24 state constituencies of the state adding that the process was monitored by the police, State Security Service (SSS) and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).

Leader of the team and Chairman of the Panel, Senator Ben Collins Ndu, declared that the team was in the state to conduct the State House of Assembly primary election saying he was not aware of the postponement.

'If the election was postponed, we wouldn't have been here; we came from the National Secretariat of the party. We are members of the State House of Assembly Panel for the conduct of the election. We are comfortable were we are; we will be fair to all persons. We want them to conduct themselves.'

In Edo, candidates emerged in parts of the state, though there were reported skirmishes in some areas that left the exercise inconclusive. For instance, in Akoko-Edo Local Government Constituency II, there was reported fracas that led to an attack on the Edo State Commissioner at the Public Complaints Commission (PCC), Oladele Bankole-Balogun, who was said to have been seriously beaten over his alleged support for a particular aspirant. One of the party officials, who was to conduct the primaries, was also reported beaten over allegation that he wanted to use an already duplicated paper for the election.

One of the aspirants, Coker Bello, said he was cruising to victory when they started 'the attempt to manipulate the election'

In Constituency I of the same area, suspected thugs reportedly disrupted the exercise when the results were being counted.

Oredo East and Oredo West constituency witnessed heavy presence of security personnel who frisked party officials and delegates. The exercise, which started with the accreditation of delegates, however witnessed minor hitches when some delegates' names were missing from the list.

However, Lion Okoro, in Oredo East emerged the party's candidate with 13 votes, while daughter of former governor of the old Bendel State Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, Miss Uyi Ogbemudia, emerged the PDP candidate for Oredo West.

For Ikpoba Okha Constituency, Hon Nicholas Asonsere, emerged candidate, while in Egor constituency, Nosa Adams picked the party ticket.

In Orhiomwon 1 constituency, Friday Ogieriakhi, who defected to the PDP, told The Guardian that he emerged the party candidate for the 2015 house of assembly election. While Mathew Erahon, won Orhiomwon constituency 2 with 13 votes.

In Esan North East, Emmanuel Okoduwa lost while suspended deputy speaker, Festus Ebea, from Esan South East, and Patrick Iluobe , Esan North East 1, were retuned unopposed. The Guardian


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