Concerned aspirants seeking the tickets of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State yesterday warned the party leaders against imposition and rigging primary elections scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The aspirants contesting the National Assembly and state House of Assembly primaries gave the warning after their emergency meetings in Yenagoa, the state capital.
They were reportedly disturbed following speculations that the leadership of the PDP in the state allegedly concluded plots to rig the primaries and impose its preferred candidates on the party.
Speaking for the aspirants, the immediate past President of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, said they would not accept any electoral process devoid of a free and fair contest.
Eradiri, who is aspiring to win PDP’s ticket for Yenagoa /Opokuma/Kolokuma Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, said they were already unhappy with the way the ward congresses were conducted in the state.
He said: “If the PDP does not do what is right, we won’t accept it. Already there are issues emanating from the ward congresses that were conducted. People just wrote names. Till now, they have not pasted the names.
“As we talk, we are going to primary election in less than 12 hours, the Senate election is holding tomorrow (Tuesday). Even the screening list has not been pasted. People don’t even know what is happening and it is a recipe for crisis.
“If they bring the list now and somebody is disqualified, the person may not even have the opportunity to meet the appeal panel, it is a recipe for crisis. People could go to court and nullify the entire process. So, when party leaders are acting as if they have not learnt anything, it is unfortunate and annoying.
“We lost an election in 2015 because of the impunity in the party. From then till now, we have not learnt anything. We just lost Osun State.
“That should allow every PDP member back to the drawing board in preparation for the forthcoming elections, but people are still busy manipulating the process. But the aspirants this time around, particularly myself, we came to win elections, not only in the state, we want our party to win the general elections.”
Eradiri called on the national leadership of the PDP to change their ways of doing things, insisting that the party would suffer heavy defeat if it adopted a similar style that made it lose election in 2015.
He said the party would have no morale right to demand loyalty from its members when it failed to follow due process and allow internal democracy.
Eradiri further warned aspirants dropping the name of Governor Seriake Dickson as having endorsed their candidature to desist forthwith, saying Dickson believes in free, fair and credible electoral processes.
He said: “Those dropping the name of the Governor of the state should stop. They should realise that it is not Governor Dickson we are going to represent, it is our constituents.
“So, aspirants should stop dropping the governor’s name. We need to go to the people whom we are going to represent. The Governor has done his own, fantastically. His second term is finishing and finishing well.
“The four years that we are about to negotiate, the Governor won’t be there. The best that he can give to us is free and fair contest that will bring good representation for the people.”
He told the party to prepare for heavy implosion if it went ahead to rig the primaries to impose candidates.
“The party leaders should be afraid that if they rig the primaries, the party will be in crisis. We are not afraid. We know there is no party democracy in Nigeria. Parties are only trying their best to do the right thing. If they don’t do the right thing, we will lose elections.
“Now, we have lost the centre, we do not have any other choice but to do the right thing. Senator Ademola Adeleke was able to withstand his opponent in Osun State in the first round because he was a popular candidate that came out of the party, so that is an experience we must not lose sight of”, he said.
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