The Ebonyi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has debunked the claims that its newly elected Chairman, Mr Tochukwu Okorie, was foisted on party faithful through an undemocratic process.
In a petition to the PDP Congress Appeal Committee, which was sighted by our correspondent, on Sunday, one of the contestants for the Chairmanship position, in the just-concluded Congress held penultimate Saturday, in Abakaliki, Mr Silas Onu, alleged that Mr Okorie failed to meet the minimum requirements for nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest in the election.
He equally accused the party’s National Working Committee of gifting Mr Okorie a nomination form, which according to him, was contrary to the guidelines that stipulate that an aspirant must purchase a form for N750,000.00.
Onu further claimed that Okorie failed to meet the party’s deadline for the purchase and submission of forms, alleging that the party had a preset template for his emergence as the party’s Chairman, in Ebonyi State.
But while reacting to Onu’s petition to the Congress Appeal Committee, Okorie said there was no iota of truth in his opponent’s claims, urging the Committee and the general public to disregard them as frivolous and baseless.
Presenting 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, Okorie said, “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. The 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 the form since the party had granted a financial waiver and that I may go for a refund on account of the same. These are also documents showing the party’s approved deadlines.
He continued, “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.