The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has come out to warn that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may lose out on participating in the Edo governorship election if the party fails to settle “its internal crisis”.
Speaking on Ray Power FM’s Political Platform, INEC’s deputy director for public affairs, Nick Dazang said the commission’s delegation that monitored the party’s recent national convention had submitted its report but INEC is yet to decide on it.
“The PDP, as we have said is in a state of flux. In spite of what happened in Port Harcourt, the commission was there because it was invited and by law we are supposed to be invited 21 days to a convention or congress,” Nick Dazang said, expressing bias against the PDP.
“We sent a high powered team led by a national commissioner to monitor the convention. They have submitted their report as at now but the commission is yet to take a position in terms of who is supposed to be the chairman of the party.”
At the May 21 national convention, the PDP sacks its national chairman, Ali Modu Sherrif along with the entire national working committee and appointed a caretaker committee headed by a former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Markarfi, to run the party until another convention is organised to elect substantive members of its national working committee.
A federal high court in Port Harcourt has given an order recognising the caretaker committee and ordering Sherrif to stop parading himself as the national chairman of the party. There is no alternative court order against the federal court’s injunction and it is curious that INEC which is supposed to be an independent, impartial body is declaring “crisis in the PDP” and saying that the party is in a state of “influx”.
Dazang explained that INEC’s time table and schedule show that participating parties are expected to hold their primary elections between June 2 and July 4.
He continued: “I expect that a very responsible party, a formidable party for that matter like the PDP will put its acts together in time for it particularly to collect the forms for those that will conduct the elections in Edo and Ondo and also to conduct the primaries that will lead up to who will now be their standard bearer for Edo governorship election to be conducted on Saturday 10 September.
“The primaries are supposed to take place between 2nd June and 4th July. So, we expect that between now and then the PDP should be able to resolve some of these issues in the interest of that election.
“In this instance when we are pressed for time if the parties in the dispute resort to court, it is going to take long it before the issues are resolved and they collect these forms.
“So we advise that they resolve some of these issues in good time to collect the forms so that they can hold the primaries and the candidates that will contest under their platform can emerge. They have between now and 4th July to do that.
“We normally encourage them. We have a department that relates particularly with the political parties to ensure the processes we laid out and articulated in the timetable and schedule of activities are strictly and religiously followed and we expect them to that.