Violence Mars PDP Ad-Hoc delegates election in Bayelsa
Violent protest yesterday marred the conduct of the ward congresses of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ad-hoc delegates’ election in the 105 wards of Bayelsa State.
Journalists and members of the public close to the PDP state secretariat, venue of the election, scampered for safety as gunshots from opposing groups rent the air, while a commissioner in the Governor Seriake Dickson’s cabinet was manhandled in the process.
It took the intervention of the security agents to rescue the commissioner, just as the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, who was National Committee Chairman of the congress, was held hostage for hours at the secretariat.
The protesters who were mainly PDP members loyal to the Timi Alaibe Campaign Organisation led by Tiwei Orunimighe; an aide to the state governor, Bananas Endure and a former member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Vivian Ere, barricaded the PDP secretariat.
They demanded the cancellation of the process over alleged fictitious list of electoral officers presented to the Governor David Umahi-led National Committee by the state chapter of the party.
Orunimighe, who addressed Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and the National Committee members, expressed displeasure at the processes leading to the conduct of the congress.
He said: “There are processes the conduct of the PDP congress used to take. The party will agree with them and we go to our communities and bring results. But to our dismay yesterday, the committee has not addressed us. But people are already commending the exercise. They were claiming that it was good, that someone has won when the process has not even started.
“We are members of the PDP and not restoration caucus. There are other organisations like the restoration of the state PDP. What we are asking is: what are the modalities agreed upon by the committee and the aspirants? And who are the returning officers agreed and where are they coming from? We are very aware that it was the restoration group that gave you the list.”
Also speaking, Edure accused the party executives of presenting a fictitious list of electoral officers to the Electoral Committee and asked the committee to stop the process.
He said: “The list is characterised by names of some aspirants. The process is defective and already faulty. We thought the names of the electoral officers would be suggested and collated by the governorship aspirants. If they don’t do it, we will conduct a parallel congress. We call for the rescheduling of the Congress.”
However, the Chairman of the Ward Congresses Electoral Committee for the Conduct of Ad-Hoc Delegate Election, Umahi, commended the protesters, warning that anyone that engaged in violence would provoke him to cancel the process.
Umahi assured the angry PDP members that the committee would not be biased and would not compromise their integrity.
“We will not manipulate the process in anyone’s favour. I want to say the process started yesterday and we all signed that we should conduct the process. Anybody suggesting that the process should be aborted is not suggesting the right thing because we are already in agreement with the aspirants. At the meeting we declared the process open, we asked for complaint but nobody raised his hands,” Umahi said.