Monday, November 3, 2014 11:33 am
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Over 2,100 delegates disenfranchised from taking part in weekend’s ward congress of the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State have vowed to seek redress in the law court challenge the sham process. The delegates were identified with the 16 governorship aspirants who boycotted the congress.
The fuming delegates, who are also aspirants for various positions in the 23 local councils alleged that the process was skewed in favour of Nyesom Wike former Minister of State and said they were disenfranchised by officials of the Felix Obuah led state executive. They said they had gone to Abuja to buy their nomination forms, after the Obuah executive refused to sell to them.Despite that, they were not allowed to take part in the congress.
According to them the ward congress held on Saturday was “highlighted by brazen illegalities that was stage-managed by members of the Grassroots Development Initiative, GDI,”the political group sponsored by Wike.
Mr.Soalabo West,a lawyer,who spoke on behalf Aspirants-delegates said there were no elections in the various wards across Rivers State. What happened was stage-managed elections in some secret locations what could at best be a GDI ward congresses.
West alleged: “No electoral material were distributed to the various venues and in certain wards; party faithful who had waited for the conduct of the ward congress were attacked by members of the GDI when they were prevented from carrying out their stage-managed operations”.
He revealed that members of the panel set up to conduct the ad-hoc ward delegate elections “are too brazenly linked in a very personal way with Chief Nyesom Wike, an aspirant and his Agent-in-Chief, Prince Uche Secondus, Deputy National Chairman of the PDP even to the most casual observer”.
Chairman, Dr. Yakubu Gambo, is the incumbent Deputy Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, a parastatal under the supervision of Wike as Minister of State for Education. Secretary, Chuks Awiti is the long time personal assistant and alter ego of Prince Secondus who hails from Rivers State and has been a staunch and vocal supporter of Wike’s.”
“Olu Ayewoh, a member of the panel served as special assistant to Chief Wike while he was minister and still serves as one of his aides. Ayewoh is indisputably known as a close associate of Wike. Alhaji Suleiman Kaura, a member of the panel is currently a member of the Governing Council of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, an appointment directly facilitated by Wike as minister.”
He said the group of 16 governorship aspirants, like the delegate-aspirants also have no confidence in the three-man appeal panel because it is “manifestly biased”.
He revealed that the Chairman of the panel Afam Okeke, a lawyer,is a personal friend of Wike. Lambert Oparah, a member of the electoral appeal panel has also worked as media aide to Wike as minster and still manages his media portfolio to date”.
West said “the party does not have properly constituted executive committees in all wards and LGA’s in Rivers State, therefore, process leading to the ad-hoc ward delegate election was not in tandem with the provisions of the PDP constitution and so cannot produce any acceptable outcome”.
“The PDP in Rivers State has not undertaken any registration of new members and did not display party registers at the various wards prior to the conduct of the ward congresses as stipulated by the PDP constitution and guidelines”.