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Atiku Alleges Fraud In PDP Presidential Primary Election

Atiku Abubakar has through his campaign organization, petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the outcome of the last presidential primary election of the party where President Goodluck Jonathan emerged the winner.

In the petition dated January 20 and signed by the Director-General of the campaign organisation Senator Ben Obi, the Atiku group said  before the actual conduct of the PDP presidential primary election on January 13, they had raised several alarms concerning alleged lack of openness and fairness in the process as well as the unwillingness of the leadership of the party to provide a level playing field to all aspirants.  
The petition reads in part: “After several requests for a meeting by our organization with the party leadership before the primary, we were finally invited to meet with the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party on 28 December, 2010 at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja. The meeting had to be shifted to January 3 because of the tight schedule of the party leaders, and also to enable other campaign organizations to attend.
“The purpose of such a meeting between the leadership of the party and the various campaign organisations was to thrash out all matters relating to the conduct of the primary election to ensure a free, fair, credible, transparent and acceptable primary election.
“The meeting never took place and the PDP leadership never offered any explanation why it could not hold.  Senator Obi placed several calls to the PDP National Chairman, Okwesilieze Nwodo, and sent several SMS messages. Nwodo said he was still consulting and that he would get back to Obi at the end of his consultation. He never did.”
It was alleged in the petition that the composition of the National Convention Committee, which had the overall mandate of planning and executing the primary election programme was not made public until 72 hours before the convention.  Similarly, the identities of members of the screening committee were also not released until 72 hours before the screening of presidential aspirants on January 11.
The Atiku Campaign alleged that the party leadership mischievously kept the Atiku Campaign in the dark on critical issues and processes up till the time the primary kicked off and that the list of delegates was sighted for the first time by members of the organization, while voting was in progress.
“It was in the light of these lapses, uncertainty, unfairness, secrecy, non-disclosure of vital information and outright breaches of both the party’s guidelines for the conduct of the Presidential Primary election and the 2010 Electoral Act, that the organisation was compelled to warn the PDP leadership not to allow a repeat of the chaotic and undemocratic primaries conducted earlier in the states for state assembly, national assembly and governorship candidates,” the group said.
It alleged that most of these primaries were characterized by a high degree of uncertainty, confusion, violence, fraud and manipulation and that in many instances, authentic delegates to the primary elections were disenfranchised leading to mass defection of longtime party members to other political parties in order to realize their ambitions.      
They wondered why preparations for the conduct of the PDP Presidential primary election appeared to be going on in extreme secrecy, thus making the entire process suspect and placing it under grave threat of manipulation by the powers that be.
“Less than 48 hours before the primary, the Atiku campaign was still completely in the dark about such crucial issues as the venue/location for the accreditation of delegates; the number of its officials who were entitled to special passes; the security arrangement for such a huge political undertaking; the nature and context of the voting method to be adopted; the number and arrangement of ballot boxes; the nature of ballot papers to be used, and if they had any special identification; mode of counting the ballot papers; and the announcement of results,’’ the petition read in part.
The Atiku group said that they had demanded that accreditation of delegates and election officials be made open and transparent, but the party leadership ignored this and handed over the process to state governors and ministers who hand picked those they trusted would vote for President Jonathan and left out suspected Atiku sympathizers from the convention.
They listed eight members of the convention committees who were hostile to their aspirant even before the election as Governors Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo) Governor Theodore Orji (Abia) Governor Sule Lamido (Jigawa), as well as Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba who was said to be the Co-ordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign in the Senate. “It would also be recalled that Ndoma-Egba chaired the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on PTDF that was programmed to indict our aspirant in 2006 over the management of PTDF money.
The Secretary of the Convention Committee, Chief Ojo Maduekwe has been an Obasanjo lackey and he also serves as the Deputy Coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign in the South East. Dr. Nuhu Zagbayi serves as the North Central Coordinators of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign. Chief Sylvester Okonkwo who was to act as the Secretary of the Presidential Screening Panel is a Special Assistant to Governor Godswill Akpabio and had openly derided and insulted their aspirant,” the petition further alleged.
-Guardian

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Posted by on Jan 29 2011. Filed under Party Politics, Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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