The claims by the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Three-Man Ward Congress Electoral Committee for Enugu State, Prince Vincent Yandev Amaabai, that the discharge was peaceful, are nothing close to the truth, Easterner has gathered.
Amaabai, after supervising the movement at Umunevo Ward 02, Ogui Nike, had earlier said the congress is absolutely free, fair, and crystal clear.
Easterner go to know that the exercise was immensely disrupted by aligned congresses, choreographs, detectable rupture of guidelines, and violence.
Most visible was the non-availability of the result sheets in all the 260 wards of the state, which triggered the recording of results on sheets of paper.
This,as at when it was learnt, ignited the allegation that the Abuja panel had a hand with state authorities to submit to the party’s national headquarters falsified results instead of the original results of the field exercises.
According to the party’s regulations and rules, the congress was prompted to take place at 260 ward collation centres in the state at noon with candidates descerned and accredited by the presentation of their forms.
The party members would then be allowed to vote, using the Option A4 system, in which the aspirants emerging with top three highest scores, one of which must be a woman, declared the winners. The result in each ward was to be recorded in the presence of all, signed by the officers and an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission, who was also supposed to receive a copy of the results.
But there have been rumors that the results of the above exercise were put together by the state officials in a hotel behind the Enugu State Government House in abetting with the Abuja panel, thus the truancy of results sheets at the designated venues.
It was however uncovered that loyalists of one of the weighty governorship aspirants, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, proceeded to conduct the congress in the 260 wards.
Although the party officials recorded and signed the results on sheets of paper, with the INEC observer signing also, in many cases, the party officials refused to record or sign the results.
“We had no choice but to follow the party’s directives to elect the three ad-hoc delegates. Unlike them, our candidates appeared at the venue with their forms evenly identified.
“PDP members voted by queuing behind them. Even where the people sponsored by the other people came out, they were clearly drubbed as was the case in Okpanku, the hometown of the Chairman of Aninri LGA,Hon. Benneth Ajah.”
It was, however, gathered that the exercise was disrupted by violence in most places.
In Awgu, for example, the Council Chairman, Hon. Pedro purposely stormed the location with thugs, who shattered the cameras being used in recording the event and allegedly beat up many party faithful, including the PDP Chairman in Awgu LGA, Hon. Okey Udeh, whose phones were taken away.
Udeh’s phone was however said to have been returned to the Awgu Divisional Police Station, on the condition that it could only be given back to him after deleting recording of the ugly incident recorded with the phone.
Easterner gathered that a petition has been formally penned down with the police over the incident.
In Oduma Ward 4, a lawyer and candidate for the three-man ad-hoc delegate, Mr. Ejike Ekpete was attacked by reckoned cultists allegedly with the Deputy Ward Chairman, Mr. Boniface Egwu as their head.
“I had set up the canopies and chairs and was putting finishing up the arrangement for the exercise at Oduma Ward 4 when one Mr Boniface Egwu, aka Egwueji led a gang of thugs and cultists to let me know that they had come to carry out an ‘order from above’ that I should vacate the venue.
“I told them that I purchased a form to contest for the delegate’s position and if they had candidates, they should field them and let the people queue behind the candidates to decide in line with the PDP guidelines.
“They pounced on me with dangerous weapons, including machetes and started shooting randomly in the air. People scampered to safety as the cultists and thugs who were acting on the instruction of the Aninri Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Benneth Ajah, scattered the canopies because they were not ready for any congress. They already believed in the one being compiled somewhere in Enugu.
“They also confronted me with one of the canopy poles and as I was struggling to find my way to my car to escape for my life, they gave me a deep machete cut causing me to lose lot of blood. I was not the only one they hurt or they wanted to kill.
“Thank God I escaped alive, but I am never giving up. We thought Sullivan Chime put a stop to the reign of thuggery, cultism, and political violence, but Enugu appears to have returned to the hands of thugs and cultists,” he stated.
Some thugs had also attacked Ekweremadu’s supporters during the April 2022 monthly meeting of the PDP. Many were left with broken heads and cuts on the head among other serious injuries, leaving many, including the member representing Aninri in the Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Chinedu Okwu (Otaka) hospitalized.
Meanwhile,in Agba Umana Ward, Ezeagu LGA, a House of Assembly aspirant, known to be working for a topranked government official, who is also an aspirant to the House of Representatives, was seen wielding a pump-action rifle ahead of a congress to be held after Ekweremadu’s loyalists and the ward had successfully conducted a congress in line with the time appointed by the party.
In Ugbaike, Enugu Ezike, Igboeze North LGA, one Bertrand Ugwu simply identified as an Ekweremadu supporter, also sustained deep machete cuts on his head as he was attacked by some suspected personnel of the Enugu State Government Neighbourhood Watch. He is said to be hospitalised at an undisclosed location.
Some members of the party have alleged that governors have hijacked the PDP with the help of Senator Iyorchia Ayu-led PDP National Working Committee.
Many party chieftains have also expressed worry over the party possibly prone to witness its worst downfall if the 2023 process is not democratised and made clear in line with the party’s founding ideals. Meanwhile, efforts to get the reaction of the state PDP Chairman, Hon Augustine Nnamani, were unachievable as he did not answer calls to his mobile line.