Indications emerged, on Tuesday, that all might not be well with the Delta State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as notable chieftains of the party shunned the stakeholders’ meeting called by the State Executive Committee, in Asaba.
A former governor of the state, James Ibori, who is regarded as the godfather of Delta politics was conspicuously absent from the meeting held outside the expansive state secretariat of the party but within the confines of the Government House, in Asaba.
Daily Sun reports that Ibori’s successor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who is reportedly seriously considering a defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in pursuant of his senatorial ambition, was not also at the meeting.
This was even as the two senators on the party’s platform at the National Assembly, Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta North) and James Manager (Delta South) did not show up at the meeting.
Although notice of the meeting was issued out about one week, the party bigwigs failed to attend in what observers saw as a major crack within the PDP family over various elective positions as the clock ticks towards the 2019 general elections.
Insider sources at the meeting told Daily Sun Correspondent that no reason was given for their absence, adding that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, his deputy, Kingsley Otuaro and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, were present.
But addressing party stakeholders, the state chairman of the PDP, Kingsley Esiso, condemned the recent impeachment moves across the country and what the party termed ‘repression of the opposition’, describing it as an assault on the nation’s democracy, and the country was descending into full blown autocracy.
Esiso’s words, “PDP has become the party of choice for Nigerians as the Federal Government through its actions has decided to turn democracy on its head and descended into autocracy. More defections are coming even in Delta State,” he said.
Esiso informed party faithful that PDP National Executive Council has approved the process for party primaries and national convention beginning from August through October, 2018.
He stated that there would be no imposition of candidates for any position, and assured party faithful that there would be free and fair primaries at all levels.
“As a party, we will conduct free, fair, credible and acceptable primaries, we want to win in every constituency, we will field only popular candidates who will emerge through free and fair primaries,” he assured.
The party chairman appealed to aspirants to ensure a peaceful, violence-free process leading to the primaries stating that aspirants should be sure of their chances before joining the race.