- Adopts Ize-Iyamu as candidate
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as unnecessary distraction the threat by the ousted National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to organise a rival governorship primaries for Edo State.
Sheriff and his loyalists had declared last Monday’s Edo State governorship primaries as illegal and a contraption of an illegal care-taker committee, urging members nationwide, especially in Edo State, to disregard it.
In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) signed by Sheriff and the former PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, they urged the commission not to give legitimacy to what happened in the state, saying the party would conduct a proper primary in the state.
However, the Secretary of the National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ben Obi, has said the PDP governorship primaries in the state have met all the requirements needed for the exercise, including having a representation by INEC.
Obi, who spoke to THISDAY through telephone in response to the latest challenge posed by Sheriff and his group, said PDP members and Nigerians across the country who watched the primary election beamed live on television can all attest to the transparent nature of the process.
Regarding the issue of legitimacy, Obi said the PDP caretaker committee presently enjoys the support and loyalty of all the organs of the party, including all the state chapters of the party, adding that there no way Sheriff could carry out his threat and conduct congresses and primary election in Edo State without dealing with the state branch of the party which incidentally took part in the conduct of the governorship primary.
“I think you all saw how peaceful our governorship primaries in the state were and how the INEC officials were handed over the results. You also saw the INEC staff clearly displaying the results.
“I want you to know that the leadership of the PDP is not distracted by the mucky water of politics; we have decided to remain focused being a political party with a lot of experience.
Not when all the organs of the party are working with you and then you want to succumb to unnecessary distraction.
“Let Sheriff go and conduct his own congresses and primaries, at least to do that, he must deal with the leadership of the party in the state. You must also produce your own candidate. The state has a party structure that is not factionalised. He knows these facts, so the issue he is raising is quite elementary.
“As far as I am concerned, what Sheriff and his co-travellers are doing is nothing but a mere distraction that should be ignored,” he said.
Meanwhile, PDP yesterday issued a statement congratulating its gubernatorial standard-bearer for the forthcoming Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, describing the primary election as free, fair and credible.
In a statement signed by a member of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Prince DayoAdeyeye, the party described the exercise as “victory for those who cherish freedom of choice depicting the democratic culture of the PDP.
“It is indeed a triumph of a popular candidate and victory for democracy.”
PDP further stated that: “The outcome of the election in the state which is one of the best elections so far in Nigeria, has proved to the opposition in the state that the PDP
is united house built on the principle of delivering power to the people and the sustenance of our democracy at all levels irrespective of our various differences.
“The leadership of the party under the chairmanship of Senator Ahmed Makarfi has commended the Electoral Committee led by Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, and all the leaders and members of the party in Edo State, especially, the delegates and other aspirants who participated in the poll and assured them of the support of the national leadership to bring positive change to the people of the state through the forthcoming election.”
Finally, the PDP has charged its members in Edo State to close ranks and put behind them any diversionary politics relating to the primaries and work together for the overall success of the party on September 10, 2016, governorship election.