The Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Ebonyi state chapter, Sunday, refuted allegations that the emergence of its State chairman, Mr. Tochukwu Okorie, did not follow a democratic process.
One of the chairmanship contestants, in the just concluded PDP state Congress Mr. Silas Onu, had petitioned to the PDP Congress Appeal, alleging that Okorie did not meet the minimum requirements for nomination and as such did not qualify to contest in the election.
In the petition sited by our correspondent in Abakaliki, Onu, claimed that Okorie did not purchase the nomination form of N750,000.00, which was stipulated in the guidelines must be purchased by a chairmanship contestant, stating that the form was giving to Okorie by the party’s National Working Committee as a gift.
He alleged that Okorie failed to meet the party’s deadline for the purchase and submission of forms, and that the party had a preset template for his emergence as the party’s Chairman, in Ebonyi State.
In his reply to the Congress Appeal Committee, Okorie, debunked all the allegations leveled on him by Onu, even as he urged the Committee and the general public to disregard them as frivolous and baseless.
Okorie, who presented copies of receipts of his nomination form, which were submitted at the Party’s Headquarters in Abuja as proof before journalists, on Sunday, in Abakaliki, noted that: “Not only did I duly purchase my form within the allowed timeframe but also met the submission deadline contrary to Onu’s claims.
“These are copies of the documents as attached below and they show I bought my nomination form for N750,000.00 as prescribed by the party’s Guidelines on September 6, 2021 ahead of the revised deadline of September 9, 2021. Submission date as seen from the duly acknowledged copy of the form was October 4, 2021, being the first business day following the National holiday of Friday October 1, 2021, which should have been the deadline.
“Other documents to prove my claims and attached herewith include a financial waiver granted to candidates in Ebonyi State by the National Working Committee of PDP allowing them to obtain forms without paying. I ought not to have paid for form since the party had granted a financial waiver and that I may go for a refund on account of same. These are also documents showing party’s approved deadlines.
“My opponent, Mr. Silas Onu, though having made blunders by making wild claims in the media, has been a hardworking party man and I call on him (Onu) to retrace his steps. He should come back home and join hands with the newly elected Executive Committee of PDP in the state to rebuild the party. I reiterate again and for me, there is no Victor and there is no Vanquished.
“Recall that seven aspirants had initially indicated their interest to vie for the position of the Chairman of the PDP Ebonyi State chapter. Five, out of that number however willingly withdrew from the contest, paving the way for a contest between me and Mr. Silas Onu. The State Congress Committee Chairman, Senator Ben-Collins Ndu, in his powers as the Returning Officer, declared me as the winner. Out of the 1,510 accredited delegates, I polled 1,240 votes to defeat my only opponent, Mr. Silas Onu, who polled 262 votes. Eight votes were declared invalid.”
When contacted, a Chieftain of the PDP in Ebonyi State and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim affirmed Okorie’s position, saying the party was currently repositioned to retake the state, come 2023.