•Why I boycotted primary -Oduah
From Geoffrey Anyanwu , Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Alloy Attah, Awka and Fred Itua, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday elected Mr. Oseloka Obaze as its candidate for the November 18 Anambra state governorship election. He defeated four others, polling 672 out of the 958 votes cast to clinch the party’s ticket. He beat Alex Obiogbolu who came second position with 190, while Ifeanyi Ubah came third with 94 votes.
Obaze would now slug it out with the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Tony Nwoye of All Progressive Congress (APC), Osita Chidoka of United Progressive Party (UPP), Godwin Ezeemo of Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) and others.
Obaze is a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and hails from Anambra North Senatorial district, where Tony Nwoye, the APC candidate and Obiano also come from.
Earlier, three out of the seven aspirants that purchased the nomination forms, Dr. Akaolisa Ufodike, Linda Ikpeazu and Prince John Emeka withdrew from the race. Akaolisa withdrew a week before the primary election, while Emeka and Ikpeazu announced their withdrawal yesterday morning before the commencement of the exercise.
Giving reasons for his withdrawal, Emeka said: “I have suspended my participation in the Anambra PDP gubernatorial primary. My reason is because the delegates’ list was doctored.” Senator Stella Oduah who had earlier threatened to withdraw from the party’s primary did not show up at the venue of the election received no vote.
She said she was treated unfairly by the party and alleged that her absence was because of the imposition of a candidate on the state chapter of the party.
She released a statement saying that the process that led to the selection of deluges was chaotic and a lot of her supporters were disenfranchised.
“The fundamental process that led to the three-man delegates was chaotic and my people were disenfranchised. When you have imposition, you have blocked their hope. You have made it difficult and impossible for them to aspire to be anything within the party because you are telling them that you can bring someone from nowhere and impose on them.
“When you bring someone from outside the party who has not stayed for long, you are telling others that they do not have capacity and I do not think that we lack capacity. I believe that those who conducted the three-man delegates ward congress has no intention of PDP winning the election, otherwise they would not have done what they did” Oduah said.
There were other allegations by some aspirants who alleged that the party’s rank had been infiltrated by members of other political parties who planned on disrupting the emergence of the party’s choice of candidate.
Delegates from Onitsha North and South local government areas who complained that they were disenfranchised because their delegates’ list was not returned after the ward delegates congress.
There was mild drama after the counting of votes, when Ubah collected the microphone in protest and accused the chairman of primary election, Dave Umahi of giving the aspirants the delegates’ list which was not the one used for yesterday’s election, thereby rejecting the result.
Umahi pleaded with him to wait for him to announce the result and give aspirants time to react to the exercise which he did after declaring Obaze winner of the primary election.
On giving Uba the microphone, the oil magnate continued to allege the doctoring of the authentic delegates list to the chagrin of the chairman, Umahi who abruptly ended the exercise after efforts to prevail on Ubah to stop the allegations failed.
The situation prompted the police officers to disperse everybody from the venue thereby preventing newsmen from interviewing other aspirants including Obaze.
In a statement issued later by Obaze, he said he was humbled by the support given to him by the PDP.
“I thank our party leadership, the executive governors who oversaw the electoral process, the PDP southeast zonal leaders, and the Anambra state PDP caretaker committee, under the able leadership of Prof. ABC Nwosu.
“I congratulate and thank my fellow aspirants for their graciousness and extend a hand of fellowship to them and invite them to join me in the campaign to win the government house for our party.
“I thank my family, friends, admirers and supporters immensely. To Anambra voters, I promise in humility to remain focussed on the campaign to turn the state around and deliver good governance to our people because Anambra deserves better”, Obaze said.