The cold war brewing in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Abia State took a dangerous twist Friday, as the party’s scribe, Mr. David Iro, has sharply disagreed with Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu over the conduct of the party’s three-man delegate congress.
While Gov. Ikpeazu had in a video, hailed the successful conduct of the exercise in his Alaukwu/ Ohanze Ward 7 in Obingwa Local Government Area, the party Secretary said there was no delegate congress anywhere in the state.
The Secretary told Ikengaonline who dismissed claims that the exercise held as “mere speculations,” challenged those making such claims to produce proof.
He said that both the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; and the police had not granted the request by the party to monitor the exercise, citing the Muslim holidays on Monday and Tuesday.
According to him, the panel from the national secretariat of the party could not show up on the first day the exercise was scheduled but when they later came during the Sallah holidays, INEC declined the invitation to monitor the exercise due to the public holidays.
According to him: “On the first day of the congress the team from Abuja did not come. The second day when it was scheduled was a public holiday. And when we sent notice of the congress, INEC, said they were on public holidays and could not come.
“We also took our notice to police. They said the office of the Commissioner of Police was not open to receive our letter.
“Then before we went on two-day lockdown the congress did not hold. We left the party secretariat together with our chairman.
“So, when I see people say we have held congress, I wonder where they are getting their information from. Well, all those things are rumours and speculations.
“As far as I’m concerned, as the Secretary of Abia PDP, we have not held any three-man delegate congress in Abia.”
Asked if he had seen the video where the Governor was commending his Ward members for a successful exercise, he admitted, but said he could not rely on the said video.
“Yes, I have seen the video. I’m surprised at that but what I make out of it is that it could be one of those attempts that we made that did not hold.
“There was not any INEC official there to say he witnessed it. I didn’t see any police officer there that confirmed police monitored it. That could be one of those attempts that we made that was cancelled. So, I don’t want to rely on that.”
On the speculations that materials for the exercise brought into the state from Abuja were hijacked and taken to the Government House where the results were being allegedly compiled, the Secretary also admitted he had heard it.
“I have also heard it. In fact, we were meant to converge yesterday but along the line were asked to go back. The SWC were asked by the Chairman to come to the party office, but we could not form a quorum because of the security situation, and we left.
“We didn’t know why that emergency meeting was called but it didn’t hold. Later we heard the rumour that something was going on yesterday.
“But we felt nothing like that should happen without the knowledge of the SWC. And the Government House is not a place where three-man delegate election should be held. I didn’t take that to heart.”
The PDP Scribe who had been the State Youth Leader for the party for four years, expressed worry over the hide and seek game surrounding the conduct of the exercise.
He warned against the re-introduction of impunity and culture of imposition in the party, a sad development, he said was capable of imploding the party.
“I have been a party man for 12 years. I was a Counsellor, Council Youth Leader, State Youth Leader for four years before becoming the State Secretary. I have participated in the conduct of the successful elections including delegate elections and primaries.
“The way this one is going is giving me serious concern, and this is one party I have invested my destiny and values for all these years.”
The Secretary, who is a lawyer, said that the party was required to make public its arrangements for the three-man delegate election.
He challenged the State Chairman of the party to come out clear and set the records straight.
“If PDP is going to conduct a three-man delegate election it should be made known
In fact, the Chairman of the party should come out and say exactly what I’m saying. But as far as I’m concerned as the Secretary of the party, we have not conducted three-man delegate congress.
“I need to tell the truth in the interest of our party. If we don’t do it well, it is the same impunity that we have been crying against. We promised our people that impunity will end in our tenure. We told them that imposition will end in our tenure.
“But if we go this way, at the end of the day it will boil down to the same impunity. It means that we have no integrity. It means we have not changed. Three-man delegate election has not held in Abia. It’s not supposed to be selective.”
On the whereabouts of the members of the panel sent by the national secretariat of the party, the Secretary said no person had been formally introduced to him as a member of the committee from Abuja.
“I went to the Chairman’s office, I suspected that the people there were the panelists from Abuja because he had told us he was expecting people from Abuja.
“When I came in, I saw a group of people sitting down. I waited for about four minutes, everywhere was silent. There was no official introduction from anybody. I asked one of them, he said he came the appeal. Then I left”.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach Gov. Ikpeazu for his response were not successful as his Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, did not pick calls put across to him.
Some chieftains of the party have been fuming because of the manipulations that have characterised the exercise.
Many of them including the former Senate President Senator Adolphus Wabara, and former Secretary to State Government, SSG Dr Eme Okoro have warned that PDP might lose the 2023 election if the crises were not quickly resolved.