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Abia Redemption Group, a coalition of pro-democracy groups in Abia State, has condemned the alleged imposition of candidates on members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by Governor Theodore Orji and his supporters.
At a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, the coalition comprising Abia Coalition of Forces Against Impunity, Abia Group Campaigning Against Imposition of Candidates, Abia Youths for Change, Abia Progressive Force for Good Governance, Abia Force Against Rigging, Abia Liberators and Concerned Citizens of Abia warned that the development was capable of turning the electorate against PDP in the state.
In a statement entitled: “Absurdity Playing Out in PDP of Abia State,” the coalition said: “The various groups observed with shock and anger, the several breaches of the internal constitution of PDP as the party prepares its candidates for the general elections of 2015. By their internal electoral guideline, the party was supposed to conduct an election on November 1, 2014 for the three-man delegates preparatory for the primary elections for the state House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and governorship.
“It is on record that the delegate election did not take place as party members who turned out en masse to cast their votes were disappointed as no election officers and materials were seen in all the 17 local government areas of Abia State. Yet results were written and handed over to the committee that came from Abuja for the purpose of conducting that election. “In summary, election did not take place in Abia State on November 1 for the election of the three-man delegates. Despite the protests both in writing and orally to the leadership of the party in Abuja, they turned a blind eye and refused to look into the allegations of what took place on November 1, 2014.”
The statement signed by the National Coordination of Abia Redemption Group, Chigozie Agbakwo, added: “With the list of delegates (which is Governor T.A. Orji’s list), one would have thought that the party (PDP) would allow primary election into the state House of Assembly, which was slated for November 29, 2014, but alas, the people were once again totally disappointed by the turn of event. Again, no election took place in almost all the local government areas of Abia State on that date. Most delegates came out; stood in the line from morning till night with no single activity at the disclosed centres. Again, results were submitted and announced using the state-funded media houses.
“In fact, the governor was quoted as saying that he was very happy with the party delegates for conducting themselves peacefully and casting their votes in an atmosphere that could be described as free and fair. This statement is not only ridiculous, but also very contemptuous of the entire citizens of Abia State.
“As at today, almost 98 per cent, if not 100 per cent, of the candidates that are returned as candidates for the state House of Assembly in Abia State are either T. A. Orji’s personal assistants, commissioners or relations, including his son (popularly known as ‘Ikuku’) that is being programmed to take over the governorship position of the state by proxy after the election of 2015.”
The alleged imposition of candidates, the group warned, was capable of destroying the electoral strength of PDP in the state.
“The question Abians are asking is, why is a major political party that has ruled Abia for over 11 years toying with its internal democratic mechanism to the disadvantage of itself as a political party and by extension to the disadvantage of the citizens of the state that will be limited to wrong choice due to the harm already mentioned? Abians are tired of misrule and the imposition of candidates that have kept the state as a toddler since this new democratic dispensation.
“We are demanding that the gubernatorial primaries of PDP in Abia on December 8, 2014 be done by the delegates (whose list is with the PDP in Abuja). The list is a public document that should be displayed to the PDP members, whereas up till now, the list is kept away from everyone, including the candidates. Is this fair?
“If PDP desires to retain Abia State as one of the states it will still govern from May 2015, free, fair and credible primaries should be allowed to take place on December 8, 2014 in Umuahia. If this is not allowed as prayed here, then the entire Abia will have no choice other than to look towards the direction of other opposition parties that have fielded credible candidates with capacity to govern Abia State from 2015.
“We are all chorusing enough is enough of imposition, misrule, corruption, ineptitude, godfathers, terrorism, threats, kidnapping and similar vices prevalent in Abia State. God’s Own State is tired of being ruled by cultists, lazy and unimaginative elite, now is the time for Abia State to be governed by God’s own people,” the coalition said