PDP breaks silence over Delta guber candidate

By Paul Michael

• INEC closed portal before notice of substitution, Oborevwori filed stay of execution – Party’s PRO

• We’re asked to wait for final court’s ruling – State Chairman

• Ibori, Uduaghan, other major leaders absent at mega rally

Delta State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has finally broken silence over the delisting of its governorship candidate by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from its portal.

The Trumpet in an exclusive report stated that anxiety, confusion and uncertainty have taken over the party in the State as palpable fear of not having a gubernatorial candidate in the 2023 ballot grips party members following unending power tussle cum legal battle between camps of incumbent governor of the state, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and that of his former political boss and godfather, Chief James Ibori.

INEC had on Friday published the particulars of Governorship and House of Assembly candidates of all political parties in the country for public scrutiny ahead of next year’s general election.

However, neither the particulars of current Speaker of the State Assembly and supposed governorship candidate of PDP, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, who scored 590 in the party’s primary in May, nor those of his arch rival, Olorogun David Edevbie, who came second in the said primary and was subsequently declared the rightful winner after a Federal High Court in Abuja declared Oborevwori unfit to contest, were uploaded by the electoral body.

The development sent a wave of fear into members of the party in both camps with a source telling The Trumpet that party stalwarts were in a state of dilemma.

In a bid to safe the face of the party and restore confidence of its members, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba has said the party duly submitted and uploaded the name of ‘Oborevwori Sheriff Francis Orohwedor’ as the Delta State Governorship candidate into INEC’s portal on before the given deadline.

Ologunagba in a statement on Saturday, said days after the closure of access to the INEC’s Portal, the party and INEC received a court order directing the substitution of the name of Oborevwori with that of Edevbie.

While saying that given the closure on July 15, 2022, the Party was unable to access to the Portal to effect the cchange, Ologunagba stated that Oborevwori filed a stay of execution at the Appeal Court.

He stressed that the PDP currently has a candidate for the 2023 Governorship election in Delta State and urged members to be resolute and avoid fear.

He said, “The attention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been drawn to speculations in a section of the social media that our Party had disobeyed an Order of Court with regards to our Governorship candidate in Delta State and that our Party do not have a candidate for the 2023 Governorship election in the State.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP makes it abundantly clear and states in very precise and categorical term that our Party had not disobeyed any Order of Court and we have a valid Governorship candidate for the Delta State governorship election in 2023.

“However, in the interest and due information of our teeming supporters and the general public, our Party clarifies as follows;

“In line with the new Electoral Act, submission of names of candidates is no longer physical but by electronic transmission to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Under the electronic process, INEC grants access to its portal to political parties to electronically upload its candidates’ information/particulars; which access for governorship candidates closed on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Read Also: Okowa’s aide carpets Gbagi over allegations against Okowa, wife

“With reference to Delta State, our Party duly submitted and uploaded the name of Oborevwori Sheriff Francis Orohwedor as the Delta State Governorship candidate of the PDP onto INEC Portal on Friday, July 8, 2022.

“On July 18, 2022, three days after the closure of access to the INEC Portal, our Party and INEC received a Court Order directing the substitution of the name of Oborevwori Sheriff Francis Orohwedor with another name. However, given the closure on July 15, 2022, our Party had no access to the INEC Portal.

“Subsequently, the PDP and INEC were served with Court of Appeal processes comprising; Notice of Appeal, Motion for Stay of Execution and Records of Appeal filed by the candidate whose name was initially uploaded by the Party onto the INEC Portal.

“It is instructive to state that under the INEC guideline, the last day for effecting any change of names of candidates for the 2023 general election is September 28, 2022.

“For emphasis, the PDP currently has a candidate for the 2023 Governorship election in Delta State. If there be any change drawing from the outcome of the judicial processes, such will be duly and appropriately reflected in compliance with the Order of Court. The PDP as a law-abiding Party has always and will continue to comply with Orders of Court in every matter and situation.

“Our Party therefore urges our members, teeming supporters and the people of Delta State to disregard the speculations and remain focused on the platform of the PDP in their determination to consolidate on the achievements of the Governor of Delta State and our Vice-Presidential Candidate, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.

“The PDP is fully prepared for the 2023 general elections in Delta State as well as across the nation and will emerge victorious at the polls.”

In a related development, the State Chairman of the Party, Barr Kingsley Esiso, said INEC asked the PDP to wait for the final outcome of court processes before the personal particulars of the party’s governorship will be published.

Esiso, who is loyal member of the Okowa’s camp, said the party is ready to stand and defend Oborevwori’s victory. He assured loyalists that the party is doing all within its powers to ensure smile returns to the faces of members.

The State Chairman stated this at the party’s mega rally held at the Stadium of the University of Science and Technology, Ozoro, headquarters of Isoko North Local Government Area on Saturday.

“Few weeks ago, our party conducted one of the freest and fairest governorship primaries in Delta State and in that primaries, a candidate emerge and our party has dutifully submitted the name of that candidate.

“As a responsible and respectable party, having conducted a free, fair and credible election it is our responsibility to stand and defend the outcome of that primaries. As I speak, the issue before the court has nothing to do with the deputy and credibility of that primaries.

“But I want to say because our party is responsible, that it is the constitutional right, and that right is also backed by the electoral act, of anybody, who feel aggrieved to approach the court. We are not against anybody, therefore, approaching the court.

“But we must also know that if you approached the court and the court gives you judgement, the man you took to court also have the constitutional right to appeal the judgement.

“By the action of INEC yesterday, all we have been told, and that is what we standby, is that PDP Delta should wait for the final outcome of the court process. We have been told by the court, and INEC has re-enforced it, that Deltans should wait patiently for the outcome of the process of the court.

“So by the time the court delivers the final outcome of their enquiries, PDP being a responsible and respectable party, we are waiting patiently. But I can assure you ladies and gentlemen that God is not asleep. So, I am very convinced that at the end of the day, we will have a course to smile,” Esiso stated.

Meanwhile, the crisis rocking the State chapter of the Party has continued to eat deeper into its ranks, with some analysts saying the party has gotten beyond the redemption threshold as long as the 2023 general elections are concerned.

It was observed by The Trumpet that key political leaders led by former governor and godfather of the Edevbie side, Chief James Ibori, were conspicuously absent in the Saturday’s mega rally of the party.

Some of the bigwigs not seen at the rally include former governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Barr Kingsley Otuaro, Ovuzorie Macaulay, Sen James Manager and Olorogun David Edevbie, among others.

This is a clear indication that the PDP in Delta State is currently a shadow of itself despite the emergence of Okowa as the Vice Presidential candidate of the party.

A top party source who confided in The Trumpet accused Okowa of being driven by excessive greed.

“Okowa wants to cease the enter party in the State without recourse to other major and critical stakeholders. He took the VP slot for himself and still want to singlehandedly produce the next governor and his deputy with outright disregard to our political leader, Ibori. This is politics of exclusion and greed taken too far,” he said.

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