Monday, February 5, 2024 8:29 am
By Jethro Ibileke
Controversy has trailed the ward delegate election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Edo state.
This is even as eight officials who supervised the election were abducted by suspected thugs.
The delegates election was held in the 192 wards across the 18 local government areas of the state to elect the three ad-hoc delegates, ahead of the primary election of the party.
The eighth officials were reportedly abducted at Jattu, while heading to Etsako Central local government area for the conduct of the election.
A statement which emanated from the office of the Special Adviser (Media Projects) to Governor Godwin Obaseki, but signed by Edo PDP Organising Secretary, Anthony Anenih, lauded the conduct of the election, described it as peaceful, whereas, nine of the 10 aspirants condemned the election.
“The process which was observed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and various civil society groups was reported to be mostly peaceful across the State with only one incident at Jattu, the hometown of the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, where eight of the officials heading to Etsako Central Local Government Area for the election were abducted.
“Edo State chapter of the PDP by this medium expresses profound gratitude to leaders of our great party, the National Working Committee, the Ward Electoral Committee and all organs of the party for their keen supervision of this process that has resulted in a successful ward delegate election,” the statement said in part.
Meanwhile, nine governorship aspirants of the party have described the delegates congress as a nullity.
According to the aspirants, the decline by the chairman of the committee, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, to supervise the process was an indication of a compromised exercise.
Anslem Ojezua who spoke on behalf of the aspirants, alleged that the impunity in the PDP National Working Committee which they wanted Makinde to carry out was what they used Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu state who as the deputy chairman of the committee to do.
Ojezua said Mbah called the deputy governor that he had arrived in Benin and was awaiting the arrival of Governor Kefas of Taraba and asked to meet all the 10 aspirants for a briefing before the commencement of the congresses.
He said till 5 pm after the call, the nine of them were yet to hear from Governor Mbah and his team, alleging that they were in Edo State Government House filling original sheets for congresses not conducted.
He added that up till the time of briefing, the nine of them had no access to the 5-Man Panel with 2 State Governors as members.
“Between Friday and Sunday today, we have seen three different ad-hoc electoral committee lists, first was the one that had His Excellency, Seyi Makinde as Chairman, and Senator Manu as secretary.
“A day after, we had yet another list with Seyi Makinde as chairman and one Pascal Adigwe as secretary. Today we had yet a different list with Peter Mbah as chairman and Pascal Adigwe as secretary.
“We do know that the very first one must have been the one approved by the national working committee. We are reliably informed that the National Working Committee has not met since the last time they approved that list. Now we do not even know which one is which.
“Yesterday we wrote to Seyi Makinde about the observation we made and we were assured that they provide us with a level playing field, and it was agreed that those who are going to officiate are going to be members of PDP from outside of Edo state.
“But we found that contrary to the list the party sent to INEC, another list was flying around with a prominent list of government officials from the Edo state government to perform very sensitive assignments in relation to this process.
“What is even worse is that the committee has not even arrived in Benin; we were later informed that he has declined his appointment; it was only today we were informed that Governor Mbah is now to take the position of the chairman.
“Governor Mbah didn’t come into Benin until this afternoon; we have been waiting for the committee to have the traditional meeting with us as stakeholders and aspirants this congress is being organized for and as we speak nobody has invited us, we just hear rumour,” Ojezua said.