Sixteen gubernatorial aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers state boycotted the party’s local and ward congresses in the state on Saturday.
A statement issued in Port Harcourt by the aspirants’ spokesperson, Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo, said the party “breached the party’s procedures leading to the delegates’ ward congress”.
The aspirants are Beks Dagogo-Jack, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Maj. Lancelot Anyanya (Rtd), Sampson Ngerebara, Nimi Walson-Jack, Senator Lee Maeba, Gabriel Pidomson and Dr Silva Opusunju.
Others are Bernard Mikko, Chief Pawariso Horsfall, Oseleye Ojuka, Tonye Princewill, Capt. Nwankwo Sunday (Rtd), Prof. Don Baridam, Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja and Abie Abbey-Hart.
The statement said that the party breached its ward congress procedures by its refusal to openly register members, authenticate and display the party’s register as stipulated by its constitution.
“The campaign organisations of the undersigned aspirants, having noted the processes leading to the ward delegates’ elections observed that our governorship aspirants have been deceived into believing that there would be a level playing field for all in the party.
“But, we note that the process leading up to the ward delegate elections, which is the foundation of all subsequent primaries, is clearly convoluted and flawed and cannot, therefore, produce an acceptable outcome,” the statement said.
The aspirants, while expressing worry over the legality of the state working committee, also condemned the assault on their supporters by thugs allegedly sponsored by another governorship aspirant.
The statement stated that supporters of the 16 aspirants were assaulted by thugs of “a governorship aspirant,” adding that the party was yet to address the issue.
The group condemned a statement credited to the party’s national chairman, who while on a recent official visit to Port Harcourt, allegedly endorsed former Minister Nyesom Wike’s governorship ambition.
The aspirants, who called for the postponement of the ward congresses to enable the party address their grievances, said that “dire consequences could affect the fortunes of the PDP in the state”.