By Laleye Dipo
The National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has postponed the congresses of the party in Niger State.
The local government congress for the state ought to have been held last Saturday, while the congress for the election of state executive members was initially slated for Tuesday.
However, a letter by the national secretariat of the party to the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a copy of which was made available to THISDAY, informed the electoral body of the decision to shift the dates for the congresses.
According to the letter jointly signed by the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, and National Secretary, Senator Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri, the congresses will now hold on September 5 for local governments and September 12 for the election of state executive members.
Part of the letter reads: “Accordingly our outstanding local government area congress in Niger State to elect LGA excos will now hold on Saturday, September 05, 2020, while outstanding state Congress to elect Niger State executive members will now hold on Saturday, September 12, 2020
“Please note that all our party’s activities shall be in accordance with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines on COVID-19 as they concern social/physical distance of people gathering in one place.”
The letter did not give any reason for the change of dates.
The party had recently reopened the sale of forms for aspirants in an effort to get more people involved in the contest though some stakeholders kicked against the decision.
However, in his reaction, the Chairman of the state Caretaker Committee, Alhaji Garba Umaru Ciza, said the reopening of the sale of nomination forms was not taken to favour any individual, adding that the decision was taken by the national secretariat of the party.
“The national body of our party okayed the extension of the sales of nomination forms to allow for wide inclusion of all interested persons especially all those who were screened out of the exercise,” he said.
Ciza also said the election will be conducted by officials of the party from the national secretariat and not any other person, assuring all contestants and stakeholders that the party will be fair and just to everybody.
“The caretaker committee wishes to state categorically that there is no calculated attempt by anybody let alone the caretaker committee to truncate the election or allow anybody to interfere with the process,” he said.