Enugu State PDP appears in a fix to defend a 3-man Ward ad-hoc delegates list submitted for the 2023 elections.
The delegates are to join five ward executives and mandatory delegates to elect party candidates and national delegates.
Party candidates to be elected include those for Governor, Senate, House of Representatives, and State House of Assembly.
There were claims that some Wards witnessed parallel elections among the 260 Wards in the State. In other Wards, opposition group had a field day following the absence of candidates promoted by the Governor.
However, party members we spoke to claimed that the PDP state executive did not organize the Ward Convention in many wards. Rather, they were said to have written up and submitted names of preferred delegates.
Unusual Ward Congresses
Our investigations however show that Ward Chairmen texted party members to participate in the 30 April Ward Congress.
Interestingly, most of the messages we saw were sent between 10.00 p.m. and midnight, less than 10 hours to the Congress.
Partymen that spoke with us said they met an unusual situation when they arrived the Ward venue for the congress.
“We were told that the Congress has been done and the delegates elected,” one aspiring delegate told Enugu Metro.
“People from the Ekweremadu Camp didn’t mind. They pushed for the election to hold, as party executive and INEC observers were present.”
“There were no results sheets to record the outcome of the election, but they didn’t mind. They wrote the results on a sheet of paper and the executive and INEC observer signed it,” he said.
Battle for PDP Ward delegates list
Enugu Metro confirmed that in some Wards, both INEC observers and party executive signed the list of elected delegates.
News of the development forced some LGA Council officials to storm some venues and disrupt the process.
Violence broke out in at least three centres where casualties were recorded. In Aninri and Igbo-Eze North LGAs, matchets were freely used on opposition supporters,
Meanwhile, Enugu Government House released a statement same day saying that everything went well.
The Ikeoha Campaign organisation however disputed the claim.
Legal fireworks begin
The issue of which list was submitted to Abuja has gone to the courts as both groups struggle to gain an upper hand.
It is a proxy battle between groups sympathetic to the Governor and state executive on one side and the Ekweremadu group on the other.
This will be the final battle before the State Delegates Congress where candidates of the party will be selected.
Four of the Governor’s loyalists have asked the courts to prevent PDP from tampering with the list submitted by their representatives.
The Ekweremadu men, on the other hand, are asking the courts to declare the result of delegates congress signed by party executives and INEC observers on plain sheets as the authentic result of the 30 April Ward Congress.
First Court order
Yesterday, Judge Harold Eya of the Enugu High Court pronounced on the first order request from the Governor’s Camp.
He granted an ex-parte motion to restrain PDP from recognizing any list of ad-hoc delegates “other than the list that emerged from the congress held in all the wards in Enugu State on April 30, 2022.”
The judge equally restrained PDP from “allowing any other three-man ad hoc delegates to participate in the PDP’s Primary Election.”
The case, listed as Suit No. E/379/2022, was filed by Barrister O. J. Uchenna for four others – Prince Paul Nnaji, Tobias Ogbonna Onu, Cyril Obi Chukwu and Kevin Ikechukwu Agbo.
They claimed that Ward Congresses was supervised and authenticated by the National Working Committee’s five-man electoral panel.
In their 44-paragraph affidavit, the applicants said that
- “a 3-man Delegate Congress held in Enugu State on the 30 April 2022
- the Congress was monitored, supervised and duly authenticated by the five (5) man electoral panel set up by the National Working Committee of the PDP
- the list of those that emerged from the congress had already been submitted and received by the PDP Head Office in Abuja; and
- that no other three-man Delegate Congress ought to be conducted in Enugu State or anywhere for Enugu State, having successfully concluded the one held on the 30 April.”
PDP national and state party chairmen as well as members of the electoral panel were joined as defendants.
It’s all deceit, says Ikeoha Campaign
The Ikeoha Campaign today laughed off the case, describing it as an attempt to “validate impunity.”
The courts do not act in a vacuum, the organisation said in a statement signed by its Directory-General, Charles Ogbo Asogwa.
“There is no evidence of any exercise in their court papers. Neither was there any list of their supposed winners of the three-man delegates’ congress.
“It is part of the continued efforts to deceive the stakeholders, who innocently nominated the so-called delegates.
“These people could not participate in the exercise because an interest group was hiding forms so that every person would believe that his or her list is being preserved. There is no such preservation. It is all deceit.
“Those who were genuinely elected in a transparent exercise at the designated centres and time are already at the appropriate courts to protect their victory on a solid legal footing.
“We therefore call on the people of Enugu State to trust God, as this too will end in victory,” Asogwa said.
Enugu PDP in a fix over Ward delegates list