By Ifeanyi Nwoko
There may be fresh trouble for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra state as candidates have indicated interest to boycott the primary election of the party or step down over candidate imposition.
Recall that head of the 2015 general election, the PDP suffered many defections which led to its poor outing in the election: many of those left then alleged candidate imposition and lack of fairness.
The Anambra PDP primary election is scheduled to hold on Monday August 28 with growing concerns over the conduct of the delegates’ conference and an alleged imposition of candidate by the PDP governors’ forum.
A source who spoke to our correspondent said that he and many other aspirants in the election already plan to boycott the election over the imposition of a candidate Oseloka Obaze blessed by former governor Peter Obi.
Obaze served as the Secretary to the State government under Peter Obi on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and only moved to the PDP barely three months ago.
This is even as another aspirant Akolisa Ufodike has indicated that he was stepping down from the race.
Although he said that his decision to step down was not due to concerns from the delegates’ conference, he admitted that indeed there were issues adding that no process can be without issues.
Speaking in an interview on Sunday, the source disclosed that the party held a very rancorous meeting on Saturday in a bid to resolve concerns from the delegates conference.
Throwing more light on what transpired at the delegates’ conference, the source said that all but one aspirant were disenfranchises by Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike who was the Chief Returning Officer.
The source alleged that Wike left the conference with the original result sheets and only left behind a photocopy.
“The process was defective, the process was wrong because, the chief returning Officer Wike left the delegates conference at 2PM with the originals of the result sheets and left only photocopies behind.
“With the photocopies they conducted the election, after the election, the Secretary submitted the photocopies, three days later, Wike brought the originals to submit after he had given it to his choice candidate to complete, thereby disenfranchised everybody.
“Ifeanyi Uba raised concerns over the delegates’ conference and he was supported by all the aspirants including myself except for Oseloka Obaze who is Peter Obi’s candidate.
“It is not acceptable and we had all protested and the protest had gone to the appeal panel, so why are they not looking at the appeal panel’s process, why are they coming to contest election in spite of all that complaint?
“The meeting ended up in chaos and anger where all candidates and stakeholders stressed that the imposition will amount to the death of PDP in Anambra,” the source said.
The Source who appeared unhappy stressed that former Governor, Peter Obi joined the Party after falling out with incumbent Governor Obiano whom he allegedly imposed.
The source said that former Gov. Obi then came into the party alone and therefore questioned why he suddenly wants to impose a candidate who only joined the party barely two months ago.
The source added that the anger in the party was growing and going ahead to conduct the primary election would spell doom for the party.
“It should be recalled that Peter Obi came into PDP without anybody from APGA and suddenly when he was not getting along with Gov, Obiano whom he imposed, he now brought his SSG.
“Just three months into PDP, the SSG is asking for waiver to contest the governorship election. The younger people in the party are asking where their hope is because they cannot grow since new people can always be brought in from above and imposed on them.
“That anger is growing by the day: the older people are also asking why is it that the PDP is frustrating those who have remained loyal to the party.
“I am asking why are we not following the process whereby after the congress you publish the names so that candidates can have the opportunity to campaign to the delegates.
“They hoard it until the last minute because they already have a destination, so they have been working from answer to question.
“Monday’s outing will be full of fighting because many of the candidates have vowed not to continue with that process.
“All aspirants have vowed not to boycott, the only aspirant that might likely come for the primary election is Obaze whom Peter and some incumbent PDP governors have imposed.
“This means that PDP will end up in series of crisis including anti-party activities and people leaving the party. Once that happens, PDP should start saying goodbye to Anambra because it will no longer be a PDP state.
“Stakeholders like Linus Ukachukwu are vehement on not allowing the governors’ imposition.
“They insisted that they had just left the enslavement camp of Chris Uba and would not tolerate any imposition or slavery by the National Working Committee or the Governors’ Forum, the source said.
Recall that on Friday, Mr Ukachukwu while addressing newsmen stressed that he may be forced to withdraw support for the PDP in the election if the current shoddy process and imposition was allowed to thrive.
Ukachukwu however said that he would not leave the party but would only wait for the schemes of the governors’ forum to fail and then PDP can continue.
Speaking further, our source said that he would be boycotting the primary election but not withdrawing from the race, in hope that the right thing would be done.
Also speaking, Akolisa Ufodike another aspirant said that he was stepping down from the race.
He sid that the party held a lengthy meeting on Saturday and that there were rancour during the meeting.
“We were at a very lengthy stakeholders meeting that went late on Saturday. There was some rancour.
“I am actually going to be stepping away from the primary. I am not going to be contesting tomorrow.
“I am just stepping down, I am not stepping down for anyone, I am not making any endorsement or anything of that nature.
“I am here in Awka. I am going to be part of the process but I will be stepping down from the process.
“But I am not doing it because I was dissatisfied with the process. The Congress is not different from what we have seen in the past.
“It is never going to be possible to have perfect congress. But in this case, party unity is more important than my personal conviction.
I do not necessarily believe it’s a do-or-die affair, maybe that’s why it’s a little easier for me to say in the interest of unity, we just need to keep forging ahead,” he said.
Last week, Senator Stella Oduah while addressing a press conference also expressed dissatisfaction with the delegate’s conference adding that she may be withdrawing from the race.
Attempts to reach other candidates for their remarks proved abortive as at the time of filing this report.