Some top members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Anambra State are working to deliver the votes of delegates from the state to Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, against a former governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi, writes David-Chyddy Eleke.
The past few days have been filled with intrigues in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anambra State chapter. The party had scheduled its election of three adhoc delegates for Saturday, April 30, 2022. The members and chieftains of the party had gathered for the exercise, with the chairman and members of the panel for the election, led by Hon Jibrin Ahmed already set, when trouble broke out as a result of conflict of interest among some of the party’s big wigs.
There had been rumours that the members of the panel had been highjacked by some interest within the party, who were working to deliver the votes of the delegates from the state to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. Self-styled leader of PDP in the state, Chief Chris Uba was fingered as one of the agents hatching the plot. A week earlier, Uba led Wike to meet with PDP members in Anambra State, and Wike speaking with members of the party in Anambra did not only talk tough, but also talked down on Obi and how he wasn’t capable of winning the PDP presidential ticket. He called on Anambra delegates not to waste their votes on Peter Obi as it would not have any effect, rather they should vote him as he is already assured of victory from several camps. He reminded them that Anambra had only about 40 votes to spend at the presidential primary, and that it was pertinent not to waste it. As Wike preached, what was not revealed was that he was already targeting the little votes from.the very home state of his opponent; Mr Peter Obi.
It has since become clear that a plan has been hatched to scuttle the chance of the former governor of Anambra state, and, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Vice Presidential candidate during the 2019 general election, Mr. Peter Obi from emerging PDP Presidential candidate in the coming 2023 general election. The scuffle ensued from the awareness of a plot to highjack the election panel. This led to the rescheduling of the election from April 30, 2022 to May 1, 2022. On May 1, the election again failed to hold after it was discovered that the panel came to conduct the election with photocopied result sheet. This was rejected by members of the party who smelt fowl play in the process.
The disagreement snowballed into a shouting match as the development did not go down well with the stakeholders, who insisted that they must bring the original result sheets, adding that this had been the style of the party over time. They accused the panel members of trying to run away to Abuja to write names of people of their choice on the original result sheet, after wasting their time with a fake adhoc delegates election. The Chairman of the Congress Committee, Jibrin Ahmed, cited security as reasons for not coming with the original result sheets. Not even the offer by former governorship candidate of the party, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, to send his driver and security personnel with the panel to retrieve the result sheet could make the chairman accept. It later became obvious that the panel was not ready to conduct a free and fair election.
The panel later cancelled the election, while also accepting to write a letter of cancellation of the congress to the Anambra State PDP stakeholders. Chairman of the panel and his secretary, Ahmed, Okorie and two members of the panel signed, but one of the members of the panel was however said to have escaped after a rowdy session. The letter written as assurance to the party members that they would not go to Abuja and declare a fake list of delegates read, “We sincerely apologize for not conducting the congress which was to hold on Saturday, but shifted to Sunday by us. This was as a result of our inability to provide the original copies of the congress result sheets and we regret the inconveniences.”
A source in the party who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity attributed the cancellation of the adhoc delegate election to the unseen hands of Chris Uba, who was said to have earlier highjacked the panel. “Uba is working for Wike, they want to influence the election of adhoc delegates, as this will help Uba himself who is a senatorial aspirant, and also be able to influence the process enough to get delegates who will be loyal to his candidate, Wike, against Peter Obi.
“I think some people are working hard to humiliate Peter Obi, by even denying him the votes of delegates from his own state, during the forthcoming presidential primary election,” the source said.
Meanwhile, as a way to redeem the process, 74 aspirants for National and State Assembly seats in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have lamented the inability of the party’s panel to hold election for adhoc delegate last weekend. The aspirants lamented their fate in the face of the inability of the panel to hold the election, saying it will hamper their participation in the 2023 general election. The state and national assembly aspirants, 74 of them, who converged on the PDP secretariat in Awka, addressed a press conference, calling on the national leadership of the party to quickly conduct the adhoc delegates election.
Leader of the forum, Hon Onyebuchi Offor, a House of Representatives aspirant who addressed journalists on behalf of all the aspirants said they were dismayed by the Ahmed panel’s inability to hold the election.
“We note with pain and dismay the inability of Jibrin Ahmed-led committee to conduct the adhoc delegates election that was scheduled for 30th April, but later rescheduled to 1st May 2022. The shift was because of the unavailability of original result sheet. We passionately call on the National Leadership of our great party, PDP to expeditiously repeat the botched exercise on Thursday 5th May 2022.
“This is to avoid jeopardizing our chances in the 2023 elections. Or in the event of exigency of time, the already existing ward, local government executives can go ahead to conduct the primaries. The same committee for the repeat three adhoc congress could equally be mandated to conduct the national delegate election the next day,” the aspirants suggested.
There have been concerns about opposition against the presidential aspiration of the former governor of the state, Mr Obi, but Obi’s political pedigree in Nigeria has continued to rise, just as his popularity among many ordinary people, who have been rooting for him.
The Anambra State chapter of the party, which is still solidly behind Obi’s aspiration besides the plot to highjack the delegates have also pledged their loyalty and support to the National leadership of the party. In the communique signed by the 74 aspirants of the party on Wednesday, the aspirants called for immediate conduct of the delegate election, in order not to jeopardize the chances of the individual aspirants of the party, who have doled out money to purchase party forms.
Though some members of the party in the state have written Chief Chris Uba off as a perpetual trouble maker in the party, the days ahead will however reveal how Obi stands in the primary election, especially as regards the votes of Anambra delegates.
The disagreement snowballed into a shouting match as the development did not go down well with the stakeholders, who insisted that they must bring the original result sheets, adding that this had been the style of the party over time. They accused the panel members of trying to run away to Abuja to write names of people of their choice on the original result sheet