June 25, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

2024 guber race: Edo PDP crisis worsens as nine aspirants alleged hijack of the process

•PDP 3-adhoc delegates congress postponed indefinitely
•Chairman and members of electoral panel to submit report to NWC on Monday
•Gov., state party chairman accused of complicity

NINE out of the 10 aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship race in Edo State on Sunday evening sounded the alarm over alleged “hijack” of Enugu State governor Peter Mba (member of the panel to conduct the primaries.
The nine allege that Gov. Mba was placed out of their reach by Gov. Godwin Obaseki.
Addressing journalists in Benin City, Barr Aselm Ojezua, who spoke on behalf of the others eight charges:
“At exactly 12 noon, Gov. Peter Mba of Enugu State placed a call to Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu that he had just arrived in Benin and was awaiting the arrival of Gov. Kefas of Taraba State [both members of the electoral panel].
“He, however, asked to meet all 10 aspirants as stakeholders for briefing before commencing the congresses.
“Up until now, at 5pm, nine out of 10 aspirants have yet to hear from Gov. Peter Mba and his team.
“They are in Edo State Government House, allegedly filling original result sheets.
“Nine out of 10 Edo PDP governorship aspirants had no access to a 5-man panel with two State Governors as members.
“No congresses were done in Edo State.”
But before this, the electoral panel mandated by the PDP national working committee (NWC) to conduct the adhoc delegates congresses in the 192 wards of Edo State says it had put the exercise on hold.
Chairman of the panel and governor of Oyo State Seyi Makinde is said to have, in a letter to Umar Damagun, acting national chairman of the party, complained about the less than transparent manner in which the national chairman had communicated with the leadership of the electoral panel and also citing glaring discrepancies in the notice sent to INEC, which was not signed by the court-endorsed national secretary of the party.
Makinde also queries the list of electoral officers (EOs) to be sent to the various wards, which comprise elected public officers and appointees of the Obaseki-led state government.
Similarly, secretary of the panel Sen. Haruna Manu and two other members in agreeing with the chairman note what they say is unnecessary interference in their work by PDP state chairman Aziegbemi.
They complain that the list of EOs was doctored in Government House, Benin-City and that no transparent congress could be conducted in a situation where nine out of the 10 aspirants have expressed their lack of confidence in the entire process.
Recall that some PDP members recently wrote a petition calling for the sack of the party’s national organizating secretary, Hon. Umar Mohammed Bature, who they accuse of collecting a two million dollars bribe from Obaseki to skew the outcome of the delegates congress in favour of Asue Ighodalo, who is the preferred candidate of Obaseki and the state party chairman.
However, Gov. Obaseki insists that the congresses go ahead. He says that the fact that chairman of the original panel, Makinde, declined after complaining of irregularities could not be seen the process being put on hold.
Stakeholders are waiting to hear how the party NWC reacts today after it reports from the the now divided panel.