The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primary elections for the seats in the State House of Assembly and the House of Representatives conducted in Enugu state on Sunday were marred by parallel primaries and violence.
In some local governments, venues of the primary elections, heavy shootings were reported while in most centres, protests greeted the delegates’ list, as participants were reported to be sharply divided over which list of delegates to use for the conduct of the primaries.
There were also alleged irregularities, intimidation, and heavy presence of military, police, and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, who in most places did not allow the recording of the exercise.
These resulted in the conduct of parallel primaries in most places along with the two lists, as aggrieved party members took the initiative to conduct primaries with what they regarded as the authentic list.
SaharaReporters earlier reported how the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi did not conduct the mandatory three-man ad-hoc delegates election but instead chose to put the delegates four days before the delegate election in a hotel in the state capital.
Following the development, some members of the party loyal to former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who is also a front runner for the governorship ticket went to their wards and conducted delegates’ elections which are now a subject of litigation. The case, it was gathered, is still pending at the Abuja Federal High Court and Enugu State High Court.
However, the results of primaries controlled by Governor Ugwuanyi had shown that some serving lawmakers such as the House Of Representatives Deputy Minority Leader, Rt. Hon. Toby Okechukwu, representing Oji River/Awgu/Aninri and member representing Nsukka/Igbo-Eze South Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Pat Asadu lost their return tickets.
While Toby reportedly lost the party’s ticket to Anayo Onwuegbu, Asadu lost to a former chairman of the PDP, Engr. Vitta Abba.
However, Hon. Cornelus Nnaji, Enugu-East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency and Hon. Offor Chukwuegbo, Enugu-North/Enugu-South Federal Constituency won their return tickets. Hon. Martin Oke, Igbo-Etiti/Uzo- Uwani and Hon. Simeon Atigwe, Igbo-Eze North/Udenu also won their return tickets.
It was a different scenario in Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency where a serving lawmaker, Hon. Dennis Amadi also lost his ticket. It was the Chief of Staff to Governor Ugwuanyi, Hon. Festus Uzor, who had his way. Enugu State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Cecelia Ezeilo also contested for the position.
Some of the results for the House of Assembly include Udenu LGA, Hon. Solomon Izuchukwu Onah, a serving local government chairman; Igbo Eze North Constituency 2, Hon. Clifford Obe; Igbo Eze North Constituency 1, Hon. Mrs Ngozi Ezeja; Igbo Eze South Constituency, Hon. Vitus Okechi, a serving local government chairman; and Igbo-Etiti East, Hon. Ezenta Ezeani; Igbo-Etiti West, Engr. Chukwuebuka Ugwu.
Others are Nsukka East Constituency, Barr. Christiana Onah; Nsukka West Constituency, Amos Amadi Agbo; and Uzo Uwani State Constituency, Hon. Chukwuma Ekweme.
However, results from Ekweremadu’s camp so far showed that for the State House of Assembly, Hon. Chinedu Okwu was declared the winner of the Aninri State Constituency in the PDP primary election; Hon. Sunday Okafor and Egwuonwu Obasi were declared winners of Awgu North and South State constituencies respectively.
Sunday Umeha was returned to Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency.
In Uzo Uwani State Constituency, Dr. Bath Nwankwo was elected, while Engr. Jude Asogwa was elected the candidate for Nsukka/Igboeze South Federal Constituency.
In Enugu East Urban State Constituency, Hon. Osita Okoh was also declared the winner.
Heavy Shootings, Irregularities Mar Exercise In Awgu
Meanwhile, the PDP primary elections for Awgu North and Awgu South State constituencies as well as for Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency were marred by violence, marked by sporadic shootings and tear-gassing of delegates.
Delegates’ identification was marred by allegations of impersonation, while delegates were at a point driven out and tear-gassed out of the hall by the police allegedly working for the PDP.
Also, while the PDP chairmen for Oji River and Aninri were allowed to identify their authentic delegates, the Chairman of the party in Awgu, Hon. Okey Udeh, was not allowed to do so for Awgu despite several protests.
There were also allegations that unauthentic delegates were smuggled into the venue.
For instance, it was alleged that a lady was smuggled in to stand in for Mrs. Sopulibe, wife of the Deputy Chairman of Oji River LGA.
Speaking to the congress, Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and an aspirant for the candidature of the PDP in Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, described the exercise as “a comedy of errors”.
He said that in a democracy, when something as basic as delegates’ identification is flawed and skewed, and when an exercise as important as a primary election is marred by violence, the results should not be accepted.