The Ebonyi State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has faulted claims that its newly elected Chairman, Tochukwu Okorie, was foisted on the party through an undemocratic process.
In his petition to the PDP Congress Appeal Committee made available to journalists, Silas Onu, one of the chairmanship contestants in the just-concluded State Congress held in Abakaliki, alleged that “Mr. Okorie failed to meet the minimum requirements for nomination and therefore did not qualify to stand election at the Congress”.
He accused the party’s National Working Committee of gifting Mr. Okorie a nomination form contrary to the guidelines which stipulate that an aspirant must purchase a form for N750,000.
In the petition, Onu also alleged that “Okorie failed to meet the party’s deadline for the purchase and submission of forms”, adding that the party had a preset template for the emergence of Okorie as the party’s Chairman.
Reacting by way of his deposition sent to the Congress Appeals Committee sitting in Abakaliki, Okorie said, “there is no truth whatsoever in Onu’s claims. The Appeals Committee and the general public should disregard them as frivolous and baseless.”
The copies of his purchase receipt and his nomination form were submitted to party Headquarters in Abuja as proof which was as well made available to journalists.
Okorie said that “not only did I duly purchase the form within the allowed timeframe but also met the submission deadline contrary to Onu’s claims.”
However, the copies of the document made available to journalists revealed that Okorie bought a nomination form amounting to N750,000, as prescribed by the party’s guidelines.
Other documents made available to journalists include a financial waiver granted to candidates in Ebonyi State by the National Working Committee of PDP allowing them to obtain forms without paying.
Okorie argued that he ought not to have paid for the form since the party had granted a financial waiver and that he may go for a refund on account of same. Also shown to the media were documents showing the party’s approved deadlines.
He further said that his opponent Mr. Silas Onu, though having made blunders by making wild claims in the media, has been a hardworking party man. He called on him to retrace his steps, “Come back home and join hands with the newly elected Executive Committee of PDP in the state to rebuild the party” reiterating that, for him, “there is no victor and there is no vanquished”.
It could be recalled that seven aspirants had initially indicated their interest to vie for the position of the Chairman of the PDP, Ebonyi State chapter. Five out of them however willingly withdrew from the contest paving the way for a contest between Mr. Silas Onu and Mr. Tochukwu Okorie.
Ben-Collins Ndu, the state congress committee chairman, in his powers as the Returning Officer, had declared Okorie as the winner. Out of the 1,510 accredited delegates, Okorie polled 1,240 votes to defeat his only opponent who polled 262 votes. Eight votes were declared invalid.
When contacted, the leader of the party in the state and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, affirmed Okorie’s position and said the party is now repositioned to retake the state after the unceremonious exit of Governor David Umahi.