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‘Over 80% of delegates excluded’ — Imo PDP suspends primaries over electoral act ‘error’

‘Over 80% of delegates excluded’ — Imo PDP suspends primaries over electoral act ‘error’
May 22
18:57 2022

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo has suspended its state house of assembly and house of representatives primaries.

The primaries were scheduled to take place on Sunday.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Kessinger Ikeokwu, PDP legal adviser in the state, said the suspension is as a result of an “error” in the Electoral Act 2022.

According to Ikeokwu, section 84(8) of the Act does not permit statutory delegates to vote at party primaries and conventions, adding that the PDP in the state intended to use automatic delegates for the exercise. 

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“Please note that the reason for the suspension of the PDP house of assembly and house of representatives primaries in Imo was a result of the confusion that arose from the error of the national assembly in the country,” the statement reads.

“This is hinged on Section 84 (8) of the Electoral Act which inadvertently led to the exclusion of over 80 percent of delegates ordinarily meant to vote at the primaries.

“The Imo PDP case became compounded because it hadn’t tidied up its three-man ad hoc delegates, who ought to vote at the primaries due to pending litigations.

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“Every preparation was made for us to use our statutory delegates to vote, before the national assembly saw the error in Section 84 of the Amended Electoral Act, 2022, which excluded the statutory delegates.

“What it means is that it created a situation of chaos for Imo because we have not concluded our elected delegates.”

He added that the delegates’ list will be “properly constituted” when President Muhammadu Buhari signs the amended electoral act into law.

THE ISSUE

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had ordered the PDP to use only statutory delegates for the conduct of all primaries in the state.

This was after the electoral umpire nullified the conduct of the three-man ad hoc delegates’ election of the PDP, which took place on April 30, and the congress held on May 11.

INEC, in a letter addressed to the PDP, had said it voided the election because of the absence of original result sheets at the congress.

The electoral body subsequently asked PDP in the state to conduct all primaries using only statutory delegates — they include party members who are serving and former public office holders.

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A bill seeking to enable statutory delegates to vote at conventions and congresses has been passed by the national assembly.

However, because Buhari has yet to sign the amended electoral act to allow statutory delegates to vote at party primaries and conventions, the national working committee (NWC) of the PDP, on Saturday, issued a statement to all members, stating that only three ad hoc delegates per ward elected at the ward congresses and one national delegate per LGA elected at the LG congresses are qualified to vote at its primaries and convention.

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