The two factions of the Ebonyi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, who are flexing muscles to outsmart each other in a bid to seize the structure of the party in the state, on Saturday, held parallel congresses to elect a 3-man delegate ahead of the party’s primary elections billed for May.
It was gathered that the five-man central panel, set up by the national leadership of the party for the state congress, were also divided into two factions.
Three out of the five-man central panel, including the panel chairman for the congress, allegedly aligned with Senator Obinna Ogba’s faction, while the other members of the panel and the local government returning officers for the congress aligned with the PDP state chairman’s faction, Silas Onu.
Ogba is the incumbent Senator representing Ebonyi Central Senatorial zone and governorship aspirant on the platform of the PDP.
Ogba, who spoke with journalists on Saturday, insisted there was no parallel three-man delegate congress in the state.
He said there were no two committees set up by the national leadership of the party for the exercise.
According to him, the committee chairman, Calistus Anyanwu, distributed materials for the exercise to the local government returning officers on Saturday morning.
He expressed hope that the congress would be peaceful and transparent.
He said, “The congress is now ongoing in 171 wards across the state. As you are aware, this is the third time we have tried to do this congress and one thing or the other will disrupt it, but we thank God that today, it’s finally being conducted. I hope that at the end of the day, it will be very successful.
“I strongly believe that the outcome of the congress will be successful and acceptable to all members.”
On whether the national leadership of the party constituted two panels for the exercise, Ogba stated, “Our party can never do that and they will never do that. We have only one committee for this congress from the national leadership of the party. Remember that the national leadership of the party disbanded the committee that conducted that last congress that was cancelled, and constituted a new five-man committee for today’s congress.
“So, there is nothing like two committees for the congress. It was the chairman of the panel, Calistus Anyanwu, and his members who came to the party secretariat to distribute the material this morning, but the entrance gate of the state PDP secretariat was barricaded by security men who could not allow them inside, and they stayed in front of the secretariat to distribute the materials for the Congress.”
In an interview with the state Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr Chika Nwoba, at the party secretariat in Abakaliki on Saturday, he said, “The Local government returning officers for the congress were in the party secretariat where they met with party members and displayed the result sheets they came with for everybody to see before the left for the LGAs for the congress.
“As I talk with you now, the exercise is ongoing and we hope it will be peaceful and successful.”
Asked whether he knew that another group was holding a similar congress for the PDP in the state, he said, “I am not aware that anybody distributed materials apart from the one distributed a few hours ago.
“If anybody was in possession of any material before now, I may not be aware but they displayed the one they came with (referring to the local government returning officers) and we believe that that’s the most authentic one.
“I believe that at the end, the result will be collected and it will please every PDP member in the state.”