One week after the conduct of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Governorship primary election in Anambra State, a party chieftain, Dr Obiora Okonkwo has raised questions about the credibility of the election.
The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr Shaibu Philip who worked as the chairman of the election committee had announced former Mr Valentine Ozigbo as the winner of the election.
Ozigbo had polled 62 votes to beat his closest rivals, Obiora Okonkwo who polled 58 votes.
In a press statement made available to in Awka on Sunday, Okonkwo said the election committee was yet to fully clear doubts as to how only 201 delegates voted after 218 delegates had been accredited and the door to the voting hall shut.
Okonkwo said, “From the result announced by the Committee led by Mr. Philip Shaibu, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, it is obvious that the outcome of that exercise did not reflect your wishes and desires. Just like you, our campaign team expected a different outcome which would be a true reflection of the reality on the ground.
“Obviously, there were a number of serious issues and irregularities regarding the primary election. First, in response to a very late court order barring elected delegates from participating in the primaries, the National Working Committee of the Party decided, at the last minute to limit the voting to a small number of statutory delegates.
“But even with that, the list of the statutory delegates kept changing with no explanation of the criteria used to exclude some hitherto approved delegates while adding new ones, some of who are not eligible under the party’s constitution. As people at the venue, including journalists would attest, the confusion over the authentic list of super delegates delayed the commencement of voting by several hours.
“Perhaps, the most blatant of the irregularities came in the collation of votes. For instance, a total of 218 (Two Hundred and Eighteen) delegates were accredited for the exercise. The tally of votes cast for the candidates, along with voided votes came to 201 (Two Hundred and One).
“A full week after the primary election, nobody has satisfactorily explained what happened to the other 17 (Seventeen) votes cast by duly accredited delegates. We expect those who conducted the election to provide the answer to this obvious discrepancy, particularly given the razor-thin margin of victory of the declared result.
“While we await the answer to this question and clarification on other matters relating to the primary election, I humbly urge you my teeming supporters and the good people of Anambra who were intensely surprised by the outcome of the PDP primaries to be calm and steadfast.”
There are, however, indications that Okonkwo may make scathing decisions that may unsettle PDP, this is because he has asked his supporters to be on the lookout for a fresh decision on the outcome of the election.
He said, “It’s been roughly a week since the primary election was conducted; a period we have used for sober reflection and deep introspection about the process which also enabled us to consult widely with our teeming supporters, associates and critical stakeholders.
“We plead for your patience and understanding as that consultation will continue, for at least another week, after which we will make our position clear with respect to the event of June 26. We solemnly assure that our decision, when it is made, will be based on principle and in the best interest of our people who have always been the driving inspiration of our project- Maka Ilu Olu Oma (doing the good work).”