…it was peaceful, Governor says
Tension builds up in Enugu as uneasy silence pervades last Saturday’s PDP Congress to elect 3-man delegates in 260 wards.
The delegates will elect the party’s governorship candidate for the 2023 election at the forthcoming State party convention.
Enugu Metro checks show that Saturday’s ward convention to select the three-man delegates did not go well across many wards.
The commonest complaint was that the State Party executive connived with the Three-Man Ward Congress Electoral Committee to hoard results sheets.
There were accusations that the results sheets were subsequently filled with names of loyalists of the State Governor at a hotel in proximity with Government House.
Enugu Metro learnt that in most wards, party members who arrived early at the congress venues were told that the process had been completed.
However, Ward party executive proceeded to conduct the elections, although the results were recorded on ordinary sheets of paper.
“We are not worried by this because the exercise was witnessed by INEC officials, who countersigned the results,” a local government party official told Enugu Metro.
“We shall meet them anywhere to prove that ours is the authentic delegates list,” he said.
Sahara Reporters reported that in some Wards, violence broke out as loyalists of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi clashed with those of opposition aspirants, notably Sen Ike Ekweremadu.
In one of many recorded incidents, one Ugwu Bertrand was brutally attacked by State-sponsored Neighborhood Watch officials at Amagu Ugbaike, Enugu Ezike, Igboeze North LGA. He is currently hospitalised at an undisclosed location.
Ugwu told Enugu Metro at his hospital location that a supervisor at Igbo-Eze North LGA and a House of Reps aspirant, a former Commissioner, sponsored his attack for being an Ekweremadu loyalist.
In Awgu LGA, party Chairman, Chief Okey Udeh was beaten up and his phone seized allegedly on the orders of Local Government Chairman, Mr. Pedro Nwankwo.
The phone was handed over to the Police but Udeh was told that he will retrieve it only on the condition that he agrees to delete the violence that he recorded at the venue.
In Enugu, a couple of aspirants told us that they will challenge the delegates list in court if it did not tally with what was recorded in the fields during the exercise.
There are also accusations that the state party chair is working with the executive to frustrate the party processes and rules.
Neither the party chairman nor Sen Ekweremadu’s spokesperson responded to Enugu Metro’s enquiries on the matter at the time of filing the report.
It was peaceful, Governor says
The following statement was released on Saturday by the Office of the Governor on behalf of the Party National Committee that came to supervise the Ward 3-man delegates congress:
The Enugu State Electoral Committee from the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the conduct of the ward congresses of the party in the state has described the exercise, which was monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as peaceful, transparent and credible.
Speaking when members of the PDP electoral committee supervised the ward congresses held to elect three-man ad hoc delegates, the Chairman of the panel, Prince Vincent Yandev Amaabai, expressed delight at the peaceful atmosphere of the exercise across the 260 electoral wards in Enugu State.
The Chairman added that the electoral processes were well organized, and commended the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led PDP leadership in Enugu State for the peaceful outcome of the ward congresses in the state.
He disclosed that the panel will submit the names of those who emerged winners from the ward congresses to the National Secretariat in Abuja.
Led by the Chairman of the PDP in Enugu State, Hon. Augustine Nnamani, to supervise the congress in Umunevo, Ward 02, Ogui Nike, Enugu North Local Government Area, Prince Amaabai, accompanied by other committee members, Hon. Okey Ahiwe and Dr. Adetokumbo Pearse, said: “We are members of the PDP state electoral committee who have come from the National Secretariat of our great Party in Abuja to conduct the ward congresses.
“We are going round to supervise and see what you people are doing. Coming here we can see that you people are well organized and peaceful.
“We want to inform you that delegates’ election is a proper election supervised by INEC. And we are happy that the INEC representative is here monitoring this exercise.
“It is either done by consensus or by queuing behind candidates of your choice. The list of the three ad hoc delegates that emerge here is what we will send to our PDP National Secretariat in Abuja. Nobody can change anything. It is what you people do on the ground here that we will submit to Abuja.
“The person here is the representative of INEC, Anthony Obinna, who was sent to monitor this ward congress, you (Obinna) have seen everything yourself. That is how PDP does its thing. Everything is transparent and peaceful.
“I want to tell you people again that the National Secretariat of our party has so much respect for the PDP in Enugu State under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
“This is because since their (PDP National Officers) assumption of office November last year, nobody has heard any complaint from Enugu State and we hope that this record will continue.”
At Umuenwene Ward, Enugu East LGA, where members of the electoral committee were received by the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, the member representing Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Prince Cornelius Nnaji, and the Council Chairman, Nze Livinus Anike, among others, the Committee Chairman equally expressed satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of the exercise which was also monitored by an INEC official, Mrs. Perpetual Onyia.
He told the jubilant and enthusiastic party faithful at the congress that “we are happy with the performance of the PDP in Enugu State”, adding: “The National Secretariat is happy with you because since they (NWC members) took over the leadership of the party last year we have never heard of any issue in Enugu State. We pray God that it will continue to be like that”.
On getting to Eda-Nta Ward in Ede-Oballa, Nsukka LGA, where members of the PDP, including the former State Chairman of the party, Engr. Vita Abba, were queuing behind candidates of their choice to elect the three-man delegates, members of the electoral panel applauded their orderliness and comportment, stressing that it was democracy in action.
“We are happy to see people already lining up behind candidates of their choice. Since we have been going round, we haven’t had any crisis. Even here that you have decided to queue up behind your candidates, it is still very peaceful. This is commendable.
“I want to assure you that, whatever result that emanates from the exercise and across the 260 wards, is certainly what we are taking to Abuja; nobody is going to change anybody’s result”.
The story was the same in Obollo-Eke, Udenu LGA, and Ikem in Isi-Uzo LGA, as the visibly joyful party faithful rolled out drums to receive the electoral committee members.
Commending the peaceful exercise, the Chairman said: “We want to thank you people so much for this peaceful atmosphere here. Since we came to Enugu State we have not recorded any incident anywhere. It has been very calm.
“We also bring you felicitations from the National Secretariat, Abuja. Since the new National Leadership came on board, we have been having complaints here and there but we have not heard of any complaint from Enugu State. So you people have set a record and we hope you will continue like that.”
He went further to recognize the presence of the INEC officials at the two events and urged the participants to continue to support the party at all times.
The Chairmen of Udenu, Enugu North, Nsukka and Isi-Uzo LGAs, Hon. Solomon Onah, Hon. Emeka Onunze, Hon. Barr. Walter Ozioko and Hon Obiora Obeagu respectively, joined in welcoming the committee members at their respective council areas.
Tension builds up in Enugu after Ward Delegates Congress