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That Imo PDP Party Primaries

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By Henry Ekpe

On May 26, 2022, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Imo State chapter, set a record in the annals of political party internal Democracy by holding a seamless party primary that gave birth to its candidates for the 2023 general election.

The exercise took place at Aladinma Shopping Mall, Owerri, Imo State, for all the twenty seven Local Government Areas in Imo State, after approval for the exercise to hold in the State capital over fear of Insecurity.

The primaries were conducted for Aspirants for Imo House of Assembly, Federal House of Representatives and the Senate.

That of the Governorship was not part of the exercise, as that one holds next year.

I have been attending primaries conducted by PDP since 1999, but that of 2023 is the best in all ramifications.

And this can be attested to the less agitations trailing the results of the primaries.

On the very day the exercise held, many had assumed it would be the same method where all manners of intregues would be employed by Aspirants to outwit one another.

This time at the Aladinma Shopping mall, everything was organized without biase by the officials on ground, from the Imo PDP office led by the Organizing Secretary, Nze Law Biaduo, and those sent from Abuja by the National Office to conduct the primaries.

Because of the neutrality exhibited by the officials, the Aspirants had no option than to comply with all the instructions from the party.

Therefore, having seen the transparency that backed the exercise from the beginning till  the end, those who failed had nothing  or not much to complain about, but to embrace the winners. Although there are stories of some of the Losers heading to Court. Such is normal in a democracy, though.

However, prior to the primaries, it seemed Imo PDP would implode, which gladdened the heart of Doom Sayers and the Opposition.

What nearly derailed a peaceful primary in Imo PDP was the issue of Delegates that would cast the votes for the Aspirants.

The Delegate saga became a contentious issue that one of the Aspirants from Ideato Federal Constituency, Hon Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere had to resort to litigation as a way of expressing disaffection over list of Delegates from Ideato Nation.

The bone of contention was the Three Man Adhoc Delegates elected from the Wards.

PDP in her usual manner of doing things amicably had resolved on “Harmonized list” as a way of carrying along all the Stakeholders in each Ward of the State.

But attempts were made from some quarters to thwart the “Homization” policy, which led to some “Ghost names” to appear in the original list, therefore upturning some of the already agreed names from the Wards.

While the battle for Adhoc Delegates raged, no one bothered about the list of Statutory Delegates which is already “Statutory” and known by the party.

Unfortunately, because of some mistakes in the new Electoral Act, the issue of “Statutory Delegates” became a big constitutional logjam for all the political parties.

While PDP waited for President Buhari to give assent to the modified Bill, time was ticking away, heading towards the last day given by INEC for the submission of candidates by political parties.

The issue became that since Buhari had not signed into Law the Bill to allow Statutory Delegates vote in the primaries, who will vote in Imo PDP primaries to produce candidates for the party for the 2023 election since the 3 Man Adhoc list was subject to litigation?

This question became pertinent because, as it had seemed certain that Statutory Delegates will not participate, and litigation was hanging over the 3 Man Adhoc List, so what would happen to Imo PDP in 2023 election?

With apprehension in the air, and few days remaining for INEC deadline for submission of candidates, Imo PDP resolved the contentions issue of 3 Man Adhoc Delegate List, giving way for the May 26, 2023 Transparent primaries.

Without a water-tight security, since the environment was convivial, with exchanging of banters and carnival sort of scene, Imo PDP started and finished all the primaries same day and announced all the results, without incident of any type.

Although, Orlu Federal House and Ahiazu Mbaise State Constituency received petitions, they have since been rescheduled, held and winners emerged without crisis.

It is kudos to Imo PDP, as the party showed other parties what a free and fair primary election should be.

Because of the transparent conduct of  the primaries there may be no need for reconciliation Committee as no one was hurt, as all the competitors sat in a large Hall, and by themselves, witnessed the Delegates cast their votes.

During the time of counting, each Aspirant was called up to witness how many votes are cast, and how many that accrues to each of them.

The scene was witnessed by Security Agencies, Media Men from Radio, Television, Online platforms, Newspapers and others.

Any Aspirant declared as candidate steps up for a live interview with the plethora of Journalists on hand to record the event.

Right inside the Hall, some of the Aspirants congratulated their colleagues, while those who could not, quietly went their way with no incidents.

Although some Aspirants are yet to shake the winners, but the last time I checked, the Imo PDP is yet to receive petition(s) to challenge any result.

The reason is simple.

The exercise held in the open, with all the Aspirants present and part took in all the processes. Therefore, only a mischief marker would rise up to condemn such a party primary that has not been recorded before in the annals of Imo PDP.

With this peaceful development, it is easy to heal the wounds and for all those who lost during the primary to join hands with the winners and move the party into the arena of the real battle: 2023 general election.

All Aspirants and candidates must realize that PDP is the main object and bigger than every member.

Those who won should be humble and magnanimous in victory, while those who lost should be good losers.

Some of those who won the primaries today had tried for many times, and yet remained to work for the party each time they lost until they bagged victory.

So, this is the time for those who lost to reciprocate for the sake of the party, bearing in mind that tomorrow is another day.

Some of those who lost today had also enjoyed the good will of others while they savoured  the years of victory. Therefore, no position in life is permanent, just as no condition is permanent.

The Imo State PDP led by Chief Charles Ugwu has done all members proud, but it is not yet uhuru as the challenges ahead are more enormous.

Therefore, all hands must be on deck to bring every member together on one page, for the success of the party in the State.

Already, the ruling party, All Progressive Congress, APC in Imo is brewing crisis over how its primaries were conducted. There was nothing like “Primary” in the real sense of it, as what APC Imo State did was “Finger Pointing Primary”.

Indeed, most members are not happy and this is an opportunity for PDP to approach those disgruntled Imo APC members, who even were PDP members before now.

Many of them are hurt, but groan inside their houses for not knowing how to return to PDP. So, poach them, Imo PDP!

Those who “withdrew” from the “Primaries” of Imo APC are waiting to return to PDP.

They say when a man marries two wives, he would know which is the best.

Even in the list of Imo APC National Delegates, one particular family produced two Delegates. But this cannot happen in PDP.

Therefore, while Imo PDP’s internal democracy is second to none compared to its APC counterpart, that should not be the yardstick for the party to rest on its Oars.

On a serious note, Leaders in Imo PDP should sheath their swords, and not heat up the party, since already the statutory Delegates, who mainly are the party officials of the party from the Wards to the National levels, are still licking the wounds of not participating in the last primaries, which only the 3 Man Adhoc Delegates and National Delegates benefited from. I come in peace.

*Ekpe, a PDP stalwart and veteran journalist, wrote in from Owerri, the Imo State Capital.

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