The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) State House of Assembly primaries conducted across the country on Saturday witnessed a lot of hiccups as it was marred by violence and controversies in both Ogun and Bayelsa states.
In Ogun State, the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party played out on Saturday as party elders, under the umbrella of “Concerned Elders”, dissociated themselves from the primaries.
In a statement made available to journalists in Abeokuta by Dave Salako, the elders declared that the exercise was in defiance of the position of the National Secretariat, which ordered that it should be put on hold to address certain issues raised by stakeholders on the primaries.
According to him, “for avoidance of doubt, no state chapter of the party has the power to unilateral conduct any congress or party’s primaries on its own.
“Only the National Secretariat of the party has that power under the constitution of the party and the guidelines for the primaries.
It is the sole duty of the National Secretariat of the party to send down its officials and the needed materials to any state for such an exercise”.
In Bayelsa, President Goodluck Jonathan’s home state, violence and controversy characterised Saturday’s PDP primary election for the state’s House of Assembly aspirants.
It was gathered that loyalists of opposing camps clashed over control of materials meant for the exercise at the headquarters of the local government areas.
The contestants’ loyalists were said to have scrambled for the materials, which were being distributed at the party’s state secretariat located along the DSP Alamieyeseigha Way, Yenagoa.
The struggle for the election materials was said to have been started by a councillor from Southern Ijaw, who is backing an opponent of a serving lawmaker running for a second term.
But, he was unlucky as the lawmaker’s loyalists pounced on him and beat him up thoroughly, even as he was taken to hospital.
The incident took place despite the heavy presence of security operatives, including policemen and those on plain clothes.
Over 12 security patrol vans, an amoured personnel carrier, (APC), as well as a truck, which conveyed policemen, were stationed at the party secretariat.
Also, a serving commissioner in the Governor Seriake Dickson-led government escaped lynching in Yenagoa after a group of youths loyal to one of the aspirants mistook “super delegates’ identity cards” in his official vehicle for the election materials.
It took the effort of some security men at the scene to calm the desperate youths and restore sanity.
It was further learnt that the primary election for some coastal local government areas, including Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor, Brass and Nembe, were held in hotels in the state capital, after some powerful politicians from such areas allegedly diverted the materials.
Meanwhile, the Bauchi State government said that security challenges prevented it from conducting the local government elections in the state.
The government, however, said that it has made provision for the next coming administration to conduct such in 2015.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget in the state, Muhammad Aminu, stated this while elaborating more on the state’s 2015 budget breakdown, saying the sum of N1billion has been earmarked for the conduct of local government elections next year.
He said the proposed N1 billion was included in the 2015 budget so that the next in-coming administration that may emerge can properly utilise the money to conduct fresh elections next year.
“Due to the insecurity situation in the state, this administration may not be able to conduct the local government elections; but, we made provision there in the budget, so that the next government that will come in can conduct the elections”, he said.
It would be recalled that Bauchi State local government councils had been run by Caretaker Council Chairmen since 2007, a situation that was challenged by some opposition politicians in the court, which they claimed it contributed in crippling many development aspect in the state.