*THE PDP ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNORSHIP PRIMARY ELECTION WAS A SHAM AND COMPLETE ILLEGALITY*
As a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one who stood by the party through thick and thin, my love for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot be questioned. My immense contributions to the cause of the party, most especially during the last Presidential and General elections through the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. In the same vein, anyone who has a thorough understanding of Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah can attest to the fact that I am a man of uncommon national vision and passion for the development of the nation and general good of the masses, especially the less privileged. It is the burden of the developmental needs of Anambra state and my burning desire to meet and exceed the expectations of Anambrarians that has relentlessly driven me to contest for the Governorship position of Anambra state. However, until constitutional amendments are made, one is constrained to contest for such position under a party structure. In my case, which better party to contest other than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party I invested heavily and unreservedly in. To my mind, the PDP represents a substantial platform with which I could use to transform Anambra state to an enviable prosperous status for the general well-being of its citizenry.
Regrettably, the recently concluded Anambra PDP Governorship Primary election conducted on August 28th, 2017 was all but a show of shame as it was marred by obvious irregularities, leaving little to be desired and more questions than answers from the relevant authorities and party officials.
At best, to any discerning mind, the primary election was a perfection of a preconceived orchestrated plot by His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State and His Excellency, the Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi alongside selected cabal members of the several committees for this election set up by PDP to rob well-meaning Anambrarians off their earnest yearning for a candidate and eventual Governor with a robust pedigree and a time-tested proof of love for the people.
On the 21st of August, 2017, we all gathered in our various wards to elect 3 ad-hoc delegates per ward to constitute those who were going to vote at the scheduled PDP Anambra State Governorship Primary Elections which was slated to be conducted on the 26th of August, 2017 but later postponed to 28th of August, 2017. We all did our homework and it was a successful event duly monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the relevant law enforcement agencies. The results were compiled and transmitted to the National Headquarters INEC who monitored the elections.
To my greatest dismay and in tandem with the sinister plans of those who were saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a free and fair ad-hoc ward delegate election and consequently, primary election, the list of delegates were hoarded, starving aspirants of the most important tool needed for the campaign to commence. While waiting for the list from the party, I wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) requesting for certified true copies of the ad hoc ward delegate election they had monitored. This request was granted and certified true copies of the elected delegates were made available to me and I started reaching out to these delegates.
However, things became complicated soon. Barely 48 hours to the Primary election, during a stakeholders meeting chaired by the Governor of Ebonyi State, Gov. Dave Umahi (chairman of the Primary Election Committee), several reservations were made by Senator Stella Oduah, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, Prince John Emeka, my humble self (Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah) amongst a host of others which includes PDP Stakeholder, Elder Linus Ukachukwu, Members of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Anohu, Hon. Eucharia Azodo, Hon. Obinna Chidoka and others about the manner in which the ad hoc ward delegate election was conducted by Governor Nyesom Wike and his committee members. Complaints were also made citing the hoarding of the said delegate list even after the so called Primary Election as the aspirants had no idea if the delegates selected by the Wike-led committee are the authentic delegates to participate in the Primary Election as observed by INEC.
In view of this, all the aspirants but Mr. Oseloka Obaze condemned the entire process and requested that the Primary Election be stepped down as the party was clearly not ready owing to the time the list was made available to aspirants which was the night of Saturday, 26th of August 2017 for an election scheduled to be conducted on Monday, 28th of August, 2017, giving aspirants less than 48hours to tour round Anambra State canvassing for votes.
In spite of the misgivings expressed about the process leading to the election, the Governor Dave Umahi-led committee, acting true to type, threw caution to the wind, completely ignored the calls for the primary election to be stepped down and decided to go ahead with the exercise which eventually ended up on a dramatic note. As a result, four aspirants including Prince John Emeka, Mr. Akolisa Ofodile, Sen. Stella Oduah and Linda Ikpeazu withdrew from the race on account of an alleged plot to impose a particular candidate on the vast majority of party loyalists in Anambra State.
On Sunday, 27th of August, 2017, when the list was published, it was totally different from the list INEC had certified and made available to me. Unfortunately, there was no-one to complain to.
While four aspirants withdrew, I decided to continue with the Primary Election in the face of the obvious reality that I had been shortchanged in order to afford myself the locus to question the credibility of the Primary Election legally and otherwise.
On Monday, 28th of August, 2017, during the Primary Election, their sinister plans started to unfold. It was discovered that the list provided by Governor Nyesom Wike and his committee members through Governor Dave Umahi was totally different from the list certified by INEC. This list was also different from the list which was pasted and given to the aspirants by PDP. Following this flawed process, there were many complaints of accredited delegates being sidelined, replacing them with a new set of delegates. This glaring racket caused by the Dave Umahi-led committee saw a majority of the accredited delegates tear gassed and thrown into a state of confusion as well as disenfranchised. This sinister move caused a heavy distraction in the process and allowed those who were not in the INEC certified delegate list be smuggled in and manipulated to vote for an aspirant who was imposed on them by Peter Obi.
Available evidence has also revealed their insincerity and disingenuity, particularly in the counting of the votes. On one occasion, the lady counting can be heard jumping from 655 to 666 while counting. One begins to wonder how the total votes were still able to sum up to 956 which as they said, was the total number of valid votes cast without producing an excess of 10 votes in the total summation. What is the source of the additional result sheet which Governor Dave Umahi brought out from his pocket (as can be shown in electronic evidence available to me)? These questions have remained unanswered till date.
The most unfortunate part of the whole charade was the manner in which the Electoral Panel which was duty-bound to listen and attend to all complaints associated with the process hurriedly left the venue when I began to make my reservations about the fraudulent process known without giving due audience and attention to my protest. At that point, I believe it was clearly evident to Nigerians that they were all acting a script as Governor Dave Umahi and co. were running away to avoid further embarrassment as I also requested to be given the opportunity to inspect the ballot papers on which the said votes were cast.
It is also pertinent to state that Mr. Oseloka Obaze is not qualified to contest in the Anambra State Governorship Primary Election as he did not get the requisite waiver from the Party owing to the fact that he had just been in the party for 4 months as against the mandatory requirement of being a party member for at least 2 years as enshrined in the party constitution. Former Governor Peter Obi in conjunction with Gov. Nyesom Wike, imposed an unpopular candidate on the delegates. Sadly, an election which was supposed to provide a level playing field for all seven aspirants cleared for the race turned to a dance of shame.
All these represent the greatest act of impunity bearing in mind the fact that the party had began to gain sympathy from Nigerians. It is highly embarrassing that the National Working Committee allowed themselves to be used by a group of people to perpetuate such grave anomalies. Clearly, what happened on Monday, 28th of August 2017 cannot qualify as a PDP primary election for a Governorship candidate to contest the Anambra State Gubernatorial elections of 18th November, 2017.
It is worthy to note that, being a loyal party member, I have adhered to and allowed the internal resolution mechanism of the party do its duty before coming out to air my grievances as I have not made any press statement prior to the robbery and injustice served to me and other aspirants by the National Working Committee and the PDP Anambra Governorship Primary Election Appeal Panel. It has become important for me to voice my discontent at the whole process as the National Working Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, against their good conscience decided to also overrule the report and recommendations of the Appeal Panel and uphold the so-called Primary Election. As was earlier asked by a group who condemned the elections: "If Osun State could get it right under Senator Ali Modu Sherrif by electing a Senator without rancor, why would Anambra State get it wrong under Ahmed Makarfi? Why must PDP allow the party to die because of Mr. Peter Obi who is the alleged man in the middle of this acrimony?"
The unlawful process that took place on the 28th of August, 2017 in the guise of Primary Election has not only jettisoned the appropriate electoral college, it has also jettisoned the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the Electoral Act 2010, the Constitution of the PDP 2012 and the PDP Electoral Guidelines as amended. It is a total illegality, nullity, sham and an insult to the sensibilities of every faithful PDP member natonwide, right-thinking Anambrarian and by extension, Nigerian.
In the quest for justice, I submit myself to fight this illegality and injustice for my sake as well as that of anyone who aspires to contest under the party's platform and I hope that justice will prevail in the end. I will, in subsequent media chats and as things unfold, reveal more information on the sham and complete illegality that was tagged a Primary election conducted by the PDP.
God bless the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)!
God bless Anambra State!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
*Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah*