PDP convention: Ekweremadu’s committee to determine Arapaja, Anyanwu’s fates

• We’ll prioritise integrity in accreditation ― Okowa

Prominent candidates for the National Working Committee (NWC) posts of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) including Ambassador Taofeeq Arapaja and Senator Sam Anyanwu have their fates hanging in the balance as petitions have emerged against their presence in the race.

Arapaja is bidding to be elected as the national deputy chairman (south) while Anyanwu is seeking the post of the national secretary of the party at the party’s national convention this weekend.

But a petition against Arapaja before the Ike Ekweremadu-led appeal committee claims that he did not resign his post as the national vice chairman (South-West) of the party before filing his papers to contest for the national deputy chairman.

Similarly, Anyanwu, who had emerged as the consensus candidate of the South-East for the post of the national secretary is being accused by a petitioner of dragging the PDP to court in the past.

Both are infractions frowned at by the electoral provisions of the main opposition party.

Briefing reporters before the commencement of the committee sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, Senator Ekweremadu confirmed the receipt of the petitions against both aspirants and others.

He said: “On the whole, we received about five appeals, one is in respect of the non-clearance of the deputy national secretary, by the Aspirant himself, Hon Akintan Kareem.

“There is also a petition in respect of clearance of the deputy national youth leader from Edo state for not being a party member.

“One of the petitions is in respect of Usman Sani Shehu as an aspirant for national youth leader for forgery of certificates and age falsification.

“We also received an appeal in respect of another aspirant for youth leader, Mohammed Usman for non-resignation of current position as a youth leader in his ward.

“We also received the petition against the clearance of Ambassador Arapaja as deputy chairman for the south for non-resignation of his existing position.

“We received three petitions, two of those petitions were in respect of the clearance of Senator Sam Anyanwu as an aspirant for national secretary claiming that he has taken the parties to court previously, against the party’s constitution without exploring the internal mechanism of the party for complaint.

“There’s also a third petition actually in support of the disqualification of Dr Eddy Olafeso for the aspirant of national publicity secretary.”

The committee chairman assured that irrespective of the members’ feelings, they will treat the appeals and petitions dispassionately.

He urged party members to continue to support the PDP as it aims to come up with an NWC that will help to deal with issues confronting the country.

The former deputy senate president added: “But no matter what is our feelings about those appeals and petitions, what we intend to do as a very responsible body is to listen to all those that have written to us and hear from them, look at the document before us and possibly we reconvene to look at the presentations and document before us and be able to drop a report which we send to the party as soon as possible when we are done, we also invite you again to brief you on the outcome of our assignments.

“I urge that you continue to support the PDP and be able to support our convention to ensure that its successful because we look forward to a very responsible National Working Committee that will help us to deal with issues that are confronting Nigeria and especially the part of 2023 elections where the PDP hope to win the national election and continue to give Nigerians responsible governance.”

Also speaking to reporters, on Tuesday, the chairman of the PDP national convention accreditation committee and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, assured that the committee will be guided by the high level of integrity in the accreditation of delegates for the national convention.

He said this is to ensure that only eligible voters are allowed to participate in the exercise.

While noting the critical role the committee has to play in the convention, the governor said “we do realise that if we get the process of accreditation right, we will largely have gotten the convention right. And we do not pray that we get it wrong.”

He added: “Saturday is very critical to all of us. We need to understand our role, we need to come in early and hope that every material that will be needed will be available at that point in time.

“And also hoping that the committees we will be collaborating with would have also put everything in place like the security committee, transport committee, accommodation and venue committee, having put all these things in place, will now be reassured that the rest of the work is what we have to do, to ensure an accreditation process that is integrity base.

“I used the word integrity because is very important to us and we don’t want to get into the convention venue to see persons coming in to vote, who ordinarily shouldn’t have been in the position to cast their votes. That will definitely discredit us.”

While urging the committee members to work with open minds, Okowa further admonished: “If you want to work you must be ready to work with a sincere heart. We must do things in the way it is ought to be. And is going to be a lot of commitment to our party. It is not about self-gain, this is not a presidential election, it is a party election. So whatever we are going to do should be part of our commitment to the party and to ensure that our party stands and remain strong.”

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PDP convention: Ekweremadu’s committee to determine Arapaja, Anyanwu’s fates

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