The People’s Democratic Party, PDP is currently facing trouble over the issue of automatic tickets for National Assembly members of the Party.
Protesters tormed the party’s Abuja secretariat on Monday, demanding a level play field for all aspirants through free, fair and transparent primary elections across the states.
One of the protesting groups from Kogi State said offering automatic tickets to the lawmakers was in clear violation of the Electoral Act, the PDP constitution and the party’s guidelines.
In an address read by Dr. Halimat Hamzat on behalf of the group, the aspirants insisted that they must be given equal opportunity to be voted for, either through delegates’ election or direct primaries.
Dr. Hamzat said the party’s plot offer automatic tickets to the lawmakers was uncovered last week when an aspirant for the House of Representatives visited the Abuja home of one of the party’s leaders, where he met a serving PDP senator.
According to Hamzat, the senator was said to have told the aspirant that tickets for all the National Assembly positions had already been allocated to serving members of the Senate and House of Representatives.
“As if that was not enough, Senator Dino Melaye met with all the members of the seven local governments in Kogi West on Friday and boasted that the issue of senatorial ticket had been settled by the highest organs of the party.
“Melaye also told them that PDP’s senatorial ticket for Kogi West had already been given to him, even as someone who recently defected to the PDP. This is in total disregard for the interests, eligibility and qualification of other aspirants”, Dr. Hamzat said.
The group expressed reservations about the possibility of the party leadership conducting free, fair and transparent primaries into the available senatorial and House of Representatives seats.
The aggrieved aspirants reminded the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus of his often repeated pledge to do away with impunity and imposition of candidates for elections.
Although none of the national officers of the PDP was ready to speak on the matter yesterday, it was however gathered that offer of automatic tickets was one of the concessions the party made to serving lawmakers that recently defected to the PDP.
But the aspirants cautioned against the move, urging the party against manipulation of the nomination process to avoid what they described as a looming fragmentation of the PDP across the states.
“We the aspirants for legislative seats in the National Assembly on the platform of the PDP shall collectively and wholeheartedly work for the interest of the party and any candidate duly nominated through transparent primary election.
“But should the party proceed with its pre-determined or manipulated primary elections to nominate any candidate, an implosion that would be inimical to the interest of the party might occur”, the aspirants vowed.”