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• Why Chief Dan Orbih camp may loose out

By Jerome ERAMHO
(24th May, 2022)

As part of preparations for the forthcoming 2023 general elections, political parties are mandated by relevant laws and guidelines as provided in the Nigerian constitution, Electoral Act, INEC guidelines and party Constitution to conduct primaries to elect candidates of their choice. It was in fulfilment of this constitutional obligations and requirements that the main opposition party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday, 22nd May 2022 conducted party primaries across the country to elect Houses of Assembly and House of Representatives candidates. In continuation of this exercise, on Monday, 23rd May, 2022 the party also conducted primaries to elect their Senatorial candidates across the country. 

While we may not be able to say what happened in all the States in the course of carrying out this all - important assignment by the party, we wish to put into perspective issues surrounding the conduct of PDP primaries on 22nd and 23rd of May, 2022 in Edo State. One key issue in focus is the delegates list. The failure of Mr. President to sign the re - amended Electoral Act (2022 As Amended) into law foreclosed the possibility of using the statutory delegates for the primary. The party end up conducting the election with 3 - adhoc delegates per ward and one (1) National delegate per LGA. The authenticity of the delegates list can only be proved not by INEC but by the PDP NWC.

Since the conduct of these primaries there have been a lots of bogus claims, distorted facts, concocted lies, false
assumptions and 
vis-a-vis misconceptions and misrepresentations of the constitutional roles and position of INEC in the conduct of party primaries. We therefore considered it imperative to address these issues quickly, not for but to constantly remind the public of these crafty and deceptive elements who are out to deceive the people.
The PDP National Working (NWC) is responsible for the conduct of the party's primaries. Like in other States, the NWC sent a 3 - man Primary Election Committee to Edo State to conduct Houses of Assembly and National Assembly party primaries on 22nd and 23rd of May, 2022 and have carried out that assignment peacefully to the chagrin of our party's detractors. In the eyes of the law, any other primaries conducted is to that effect null, void and of no use to the party.

As provided in S.82 and S.84 of the Electoral Act (2022 As Amended), the party leadership (NWC) did requested INEC and other relevant government agencies to monitor the party primary elections across the country including Edo State. INEC is by the above provisions duty bind to monitor party congresses, primaries and conventions. It's therefore laughable for some people to think that PDP NWC will send Houses of Assembly and National Assembly Primary Elections Committee to venue(s) not know to the national headquarters of the party or expect INEC to be present in an unauthorized, illegal and kangaroo primary venue(s). INEC over the years has proved to be trusted, competent, committed and equipped to deepening internal democracy in Nigeria and will never involve in creating unnecessary crisis in political parties.

The position of INEC regarding party primaries is very simple and clear. For party primaries to be certified by the Commission, the party is required to inform the commission ahead of the party primaries but absence of the commission automatically validate or certify position of the Party NWC in respect of the primary election. Another area the amended Electoral Act (2022) frown at is arbitrary change of primary venues by political parties. Political parties are required to inform the commission seven (7) days before the primary of change of Primary Venue(s). All these were duly observed and carried in Edo State.
We learnt some few leaders led by PDP Vice Chairman, South - South zone organized parallel primaries. Did Chief Dan Orbih camp meet the above conditions. No. Where was their venues, is the NWC and INEC aware of these venues? Were these venues the official venues? Was there official communications with INEC on change of Primary Venues? Who Organized these primaries? 

The fact that few party leaders out of greed decided to go outside the national leadership directive and organise kangaroo primaries, do not in any way validate their actions. PDP is a party that is guided by rules. We won't be bothered by their actions because they didn't only engaged in anti - party activities but also they are celebrating failures and deceiving themselves.  

From the foregoing, I can tell us that as for Edo PDP, 2022 party primaries conducted so far were in compliance with the Electoral Act (2022 As Amended), Nigerian Constitution, PDP Constitution, INEC and party guidelines for the exercise.

The fears of possible legal action that will affect the party shouldn't be anticipated. We therefore call on party leaders and aspirants to close ranks and join hands with the candidates lawfully and legally declared winners to move the party forward. It's a family contest and not war, a case of no victor, no vanquished. PDP must prove to be capable and ready to rescue Nigeria and Nigerians. We must show that maturity, capacity and selflessness to lead our people out of poverty, insecurity and underdevelopment.

However, if there are frivolous petitions the position of the Supreme Court on conduct of party primaries, where and how party candidates should emerge is very clear and Edo PDP led by Dr. Anthony Aziegbemi working in consonance with the directive and guide of the National leadership of our great party, PDP did everything possible to ensure the party do not make mistake or engage in illegalities that will jeopardise the chances of the party in winning and sustaining winning for the party. 

Comrade Jerome ERAMHO
Director of Communications
Benin City
24th May, 2022

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