The governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State began on a shaky note on Saturday, with one of the aspirants, Tony Nwoye, pulling out from the exercise in protest.
The Anambra State chapter of the PDP has two factions.
Mr Nwoye, a former member of the House of Representatives, protested against the new list of delegates released on Friday, a few hours to the primary, by the National Working Committee of the party, according to a report by Vanguard newspaper.
The PDP state executive, ward executives, and ad-hoc delegates in Anambra have been excluded from voting in the primary, going by the new list of delegates, an action the party national leadership said was necessary because of the dissolution of the state and ward executives of the party in the state.
The spokesperson of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said on Friday, that the dissolution was in obedience to two court judgements.
The latest list, signed off by the National Organising Secretary of PDP, Austin Akobundu, consists of 229 “automatic” delegates picked from different parts of the state,
It includes notable names like Peter Obi, a former governor of the state; Chris Uba, a former BOT member of PDP, and Ben Obi, a member of the party BOT.
The list is populated with former and serving legislators, and former Anambra State officials who are members of the PDP.
Awka South Local Government Area has 23 delegates, the highest on the list, followed by Idemili North which has 18 delegates.
Dunukofia Local Government Area has the least number of delegates – three.
‘This is against democracy’
It is not clear how the new list of delegates would affect the outcome of the PDP governorship primary in the state, but Mr Nwoye said allowing “automatic/super delegates” to choose a candidate for the PDP was a violation of the party constitution.
“These excluded statutory and duly elected ad hoc delegates constitute over 94 per cent of the total number of expected Delegates to vote at the primary election!
“The import is that the primary election as is being purported will only be by a paltry 5 – 6 per cent of eligible voters. There can be no doubt that this runs against the grain of the basic tenets of participatory democracy of which I am an uncompromising proponent of,” Mr Nwoye said.
“Aborting the rights of the people who represent the kindle to our possible success at the election, cannot have my participation at the Primary election,” he added.
Mr Nwoye, while announcing his withdrawal from the exercise, said his supporters were free to vote for any other aspirant of their choice in the primary.
PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately get the PDP’s reaction, as the party spokesperson, Mr Ologbondiyan did not respond to calls from our reporter.
There are now 15 aspirants contesting in the primary.
They include a two-term former House of Representative member, Chuma Nzeribe; the party’s 2017 deputy governorship candidate, Chidi Onyemelukwe; a serving senator, Uche Ekwunife; a former senator, Ugochukwu Uba; and a member of House of Representatives, Chris Azubogu.
Others are a former members of the House of Representatives, Val Ozigbo, Obiora Okonkwo, Genevieve Ekwochi, Godwin Maduka, Godwin Ezeemo, Winston Udeh, Johnny Maduafokwa, Emeka Etiaba, Walter Okeke and Ifedi Okwenna.
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