Abia State chapter of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has no ad-hoc delegate list ahead of the various ward congresses and the national convention, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Abaribe has said.
Senator Abaribe who was flanked by other aspirants on the platform of PDP in Abia State, at the Wadata House, in Abuja, said incontrovertible evidence showed that the state chapter of the party, never had ward congress to produce ad-hoc delegates.
The group said the party must as a matter of fairness, ensure that it maintained only statutory delegates to avoid trouble for the party in the long run.
It further called the party to make public the list of its statutory delegate as it demanded the certified true copy.
“We know who the statutory delegates are and have therefore as a matter of urgency applied for the Certified True Copy of the list from the National Organizing Secretary of the party and from INEC, Abaribe who spoke on behalf of the group stated.
He further maintained that “There was not and has never been any Ward Congress to elect the 3-man Adhoc delegates in Abia State.”
According to him, “The congress, earlier scheduled to hold on 30th April 2022 was cancelled due to a court order and therefore, could not hold.
“It was rescheduled to hold on May 4th 2022. It also failed to hold on to that date because of a public holiday declared in Abia State and since then none has been held, nor has there been any communication for another Congress by PDP National Headquarters.
“This can be verified vide an Official letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that confirmed the last official communication between it and PDP to the effect that no congresses to elect the 3-man Ad-hoc delegates for the party primary elections has held up till today.”
The Senate Minority Leader said it was surprising for the aspirants to be told that there was an ad-hoc delegate list from the state.
His words: “We heard via rumours that there is a list of ad-hoc delegates flying around and in the custody of the NWC purporting it to have been a product of a congress held on 6th May 2022.
“It is preposterous that what is being bandied as a list emanated from an imaginary congress conducted vide a letter of notice to the Abia State Resident Electoral Commissioner signed by the Abia State Chairman of the PDP, Mr Allwell Asiforo Okere.
He said that “The implication being that the functions of NEC and NWC were performed by a State Chairman of the party and NOT the National Chairman and Secretary of PDP.
“Our great party should therefore disregard any of such list especially now that INEC has come forward to clarify that it neither received any communication from the PDP National Chairman and the National Secretary to participate nor did it monitor any such exercise as required by both the INEC Guidelines for Political Parties Section 1.2 which stipulates a mandatory 7-day notice to INEC and Section 82(5) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“The National Legal adviser, we believe, knows the implications of going ahead to use such legally unknown delegates in the primary elections and should advise the NWC accordingly, unless the party wants to enjoy the unenviable luxury of walking towards self-destruction.
Senator Abaribe was flanked by other aspirants some of whom appended their signature on the PDP stakeholders’ list amongst whom are: Rt Hon. Ude Oko, Chukwu, Hon. Uzoma Abonta, Sen. Emma Nwaka, Engr. Enyinna Nwafor and many others maintained that the party must align with the electoral law.
Abaribe continued, “The Abia State Chairman of PDP, Mr Asiforo Okere in writing and sending such notice, clearly overreached himself and by so doing flagrantly ran afoul of the extant laws both that of the PDP and the Electoral Act. The Act provides for the channels of communication between the political Parties and the INEC.
“The commission as the Electoral Act provides relates only with the National executives of political parties. Therefore communications for the purposes of congresses and conventions must be through the National Chairman and the National Secretary.
“Assuming without conceding that a congress held on the 6th of May, 2022, where did the Abia State Chairman of PDP derive his powers to solely conduct a party congress and even write to invite the State resident electoral commissioner for the same purpose.”
“It will be imprudent for the NWC to be seen to have allowed its powers to be so usurped knowing the dire consequences of such action on the electoral process and the quest to enhance the fortunes of the party in the 2023 General elections.
“The NWC should as a matter of fact know that the State Chairman’s actions with that letter failed to satisfy the requirements of the law as it is the NWC and or the NEC of the party that has the exclusive prerogative to give notice to INEC and to conduct party congresses and primaries. Any such notice given and congresses conducted by any State Executive as purportedly done in this case is null and void.
“As party members who love and cherish our great party, it is also our duty to lend our voice and contribute towards steering it out of a potentially calamitous journey which will likely lead Abia PDP to have NO candidates in the 2023 elections.
“We, therefore, urge the NWC of our great party to use only statutory (automatic) delegates for the forthcoming primaries to avoid a looming disaster for all our aspirants at all levels in Abia State.
Other members of the aspirants who signed the stakeholders’ document are Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, a BoT member, Chief Charles Ogbonna, a former Commissioner and elder of the party and a Governorship aspirant, Chief Ncheta Omerekpe.