The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State may be heading to the rocks with accusations and counter accusations flying around owing to allegations of non conduct of ward congress in the 184 political wards in the state, to elect the 3-man ad-hoc delegates by the party.
One of the 5-man member of the Abia State PDP Ward Electoral Committee, nominated by the state chapter of PDP, Hon. Damian Ozurumba, a former member of the House of Representatives from Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of the State, said that no ward congress held in Abia State on May 6th, 2022.
He alleged each member of the 5-man committee were given N5m to write the list of the members of the 3-man delegates.
Ozurumba, who spoke during a PDP meeting in Obingwa Local Government Area, maintained that as a man with the people at heart, his conscience did not allow him take the money, hence, he opted out of the the manipulations of the lists, and wrote a monitory report which he said had since been submitted to the national headquarters of the PDP, that ward congress to elect 3-man delegate didn’t hold in Abia.
In his exact words “I am one of the five persons selected by the National Working Committee to conduct the three man ad-hoc delegates election. They gave us N5,000,000 to write the list of delegates. I rejected the money. If I don’t gain today, I will gain tomorrow. I also forwarded my Minority report to the NWC that no ward congress held to elect the 3-man adhoc delegate.”
This revelation, therefore, justifies claims by some governorship aspirants and leaders of the PDP in Abia that the party didn’t conduct any ward congress to elect the 3-man adhoc delegates in the state.
In a related development, a suit filed by Ndudi Nwagbara, a member of PDP in Abia through his counsel, Nnamdi Ahaiwe, with SUIT NO. FHC/ABJ/CS/628/2022: MR. NDUDI NWAGBARA & 2 ORS. V. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION & 2 ORS, argues that the PDP did not conduct ward congress in Abia state to elect the 3-man delegates.
Ahaiwe, in a letter addressed to the national legal adviser of the PDP, Ajibade Adeyemi SAN, said: “As you will also have discerned, the issues in dispute in the various cases have now come within very narrow confines. Basically, our clients insist that no Congresses held in Abia State for the Adhoc Delegates after the Congress scheduled by the NWC for the 4th May 2022 failed to hold.
“The adverse parties insist that a Congress held on the 6th May 2022 pursuant to a letter dated the 4th day of May 2022, written by the Abia State Chapter Chairman of the PDP notifying the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Abia State of the list of members of the Congress Organizing panel rescheduled for the 6th day of May 2022.
“Therefore, the issues to be determined are mostly issues of law, particularly since INEC confirmed in their letter of the 13th May 2022 that they never received another communication from the PDP after the Congress scheduled for 4th May 2022 did not hold.”
Ahaiwe also ask: “Does the State Chairman of a Party in Nigeria have the powers to convey Notice of holding of Congress and/or the list of Planning Committee members to INEC? Does the REC have the powers to receive such communication on behalf of INEC? Does the one day Notice given by the Abia State Chairman of PDP to the REC satisfy the provisions of the Law and applicable Regulations and Guidelines?”
According to Ahaiwe, Article 1 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations, 2018, reads: “A political party shall give the Commission a statutory 21-day notice before conducting its conventions, congresses or meetings as provided in the Electoral Act (Section 82 ).
“The notice shall indicate the purpose, venue, date and time of the convention, congress or meeting.
“The National Chairman and National Secretary of the party shall sign the notice of meetings, conventions or congresses and submit same to the Commission.”