The five-member People’s Democratic Party (PDP) 2022 Primary Election Ward Congresses Electoral Committee for Anambra State have narrated how they were held hostage by some party stalwarts in the state.
They said that the stalwarts stormed the congress venue with some miscreants to hijack the result sheets for the congress, which was successully conducted on Sunday.
They alleged that the invaders forced the committee to sign a statement announcing the cancellation of the congress held in all the 21 local government areas or they would be killed.
Chairman of the committee, Jibrin Ahmed, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen over the development said that to ensure their safety, they signed whatever paper that was presented to them knowing that the congress was already in progress in the local government areas having distributed the materials including the original result sheets to the designated three-man electoral panel before the incident.
Ahmed said despite their ordeal in the hands of the invaders incluing two former governorship candidates of the party, they were able to conclude the congress in the state, stressing that the so-called cancellation notice they were forced to sign “is a nullity as we did it under duress.”
The chairman further said that the video of the purported cancellation being circulated in the social media was stage-managed and done under duress when the lives of the committee members were threatened by some party faithful.
Ahmed said the ugly experience they had in the hands of the Anambra PDP stalwarts and the miscreants has been itemized in a letter dated May 1, 2022, addressed to the National Chairman of the party.
The letter was also copied to the National Secretary of PDP; National Organising Secretary of PDP; Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC Anambra State; Commissioner of Police in Anambra State; Director, DSS Anambra State and Commandant of Civl Defence Corps.
A copy of the letter duly signed by all members of the committee including Jibrin Ahmed (Chairman), Captain Frank Ntima, Hon. Amara Ogbu, Bar. Azubuike Odoh and Engr. Ogbonna Victor (Secretary), which was made available to newsmen, reads in part:
“…We arrived Anambra State on 30th April 2022 at about 3.00 pm and proceeded to the police with our introductory letter but were unable to deliver same as the men on duty told us that the Commissioner was not on seat and that we should wait till Monday.
“Knowing that our assignment was time bound, we proceeded to the DSS headquarters in Anambra and submitted their own copy.
“However, due to security situation in Anambra state, the chairman in his wisdom decided that we postpone to the next day, Sunday 1st May 2022, and communicated same to the admin secretary.
“We got the party secretariat at about 11 am in the morning and addressed the party members and stakeholders present thereafter, we distributed the electoral materials including the original result sheets to the designated three-man electoral panel of the 21 local government areas.
“After distribution, some party stalwarts (names withheld) stormed the secretariat with some miscreants and insisted that we give them the original result sheets which have already been distributed on the grounds that the list of three-man local government area electoral panel being used for the exercise is not favorable to them.
“They locked the entrance and compelled the committee to do a letter cancelling the exercise and thereafter forced us to do a press conference.
“They initially compelled the committee to sign the photocopies of the results in our possession and issued same to the people in their own list of three-man local government electoral panel.
“A decision they later rescinded and asked us to cancel the exercise outrightly.
“Hence handing over the signed photocopies to them through the administrative secretary of the party, Mr. Casmir Ajulu.
“The men of the DSS later rescued us after being held hostage for more than two hours. We then proceeded to the collation centre, Bon Hotel, a place chosen due to lack of electricity and security at the party secretariat and concluded the exercise.
“Let it be on record that the election was free and fair and successfully concluded except for the ugly incident which we narrated above.”
Also speaking, a member of the committee, Barr. Odoh, who decried the attitude of the party stalwarts involved in holding the committee members hostage, said the exercise that brought them to the state was fully concluded, urging party leadership and members to disregard the falsehood being spread by the invaders.