• Lauds Okowa for ensuring free, fair PDP primaries
By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The winner of Wednesday’s Peoples Democratic Party’s House of Representatives’ primary election for the Aniocha/Osimili Federal Constutuency in Delta State, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, has advised the defeated incumbent, Mrs Amaechi Joan Mrakpor to accept the outcome of the keenly contested election in good faith and in the interest of the party.
Apparently reacting to an allegation by Mrakpor that the election process was compromised, Elumelu told journalists in Asaba yesterday that he had personally paid the Channels Television for live coverage of the primary election to ensure that the whole world witnessed the exercise.
Elumelu, a former member of the House of Representatives and younger brother of banking magnate, Mr. Tony Elumelu, noted that the interest of the party should be uppermost in the minds of the leaders, saying certain utterances would therefore be avoided.
Mrakpor had attempted to disrupt the election when, at the stage of vote counting she stormed at the table and tried to upturn the ballot boxes after her votes had been counted loudly over the loudspeakers.
This was followed by sporadic shooting by the police as thousands of people at the Cenotaph Asaba, venue of the exercise, scampered for safety.
Nonetheless, the presiding officer, Mrs. Uzor Nwandu eventually declared that Ndudi Elumelu won with 266 votes as against the incumbent, Mrakpor who polled 226; while a former speaker of the state house of assembly, Hon. Peter Onwusaya got 13 votes with 12 votes declared invalid.
Despite the disruption of the process beamed live to Nigerians, Mrakpor accused the winner of inducing delegates openly with too much money at the venue, despite the agreement contestants reached with the State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa that no delegate should receive more than N100,000 before the exercise.
She claimed that most of the voided votes were for her even as she opposed the counting of the votes and announcement of the results at the office of the state commissioner of police after the sudden interruption of the counting process during the election.
But Elumelu debunked the allegation of inducement of any kind, and accused Mrakpor of disrupting the primary election when it became obvious that she would not carry the day.
“I sat down at the venue throughout the primaries; even when the shootings were going on, I was there seated”, Elumelu explained.
“When Mrakpor complained that the voided votes were hers, I agreed that they be given to her.
“I paid Channels TV for full live coverage of the election because I did not want anybody to feel cheated; and so that everything done at the venue will be seen transparently”, adding that the people have made their choice.”
Describing PDP as a family and Hon. Mrakpor his own sister, Elumelu stressed that his hands were clean, adding that he did not contest election to create enmity.
While commending Okowa for ensuring a level playing field that led to a free and fair primary election, Elumelu noted that the people have made their choice and the choice should be respected.