Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has urged members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the State to be patient and calm as they obey a court order for the rescheduling of local government election by the State Independent Electoral Commission.
Umahi made the call during the party’s extended executive committee meeting held at its Secretariat in Abakaliki on Wednesday.
The Governor, who participated virtually in the meeting, described the PDP as democratic and law abiding, which cannot afford to disobey Court orders, and asked the party to readjust its timetable in line with the revised timetable of the State Independent Electoral Commission.
Umahi said: “I will rely on the advice of the National Chairman and advice the party to be a bit patient.
“PDP is known for obeying court orders and the rule of law.
“We can not disobey federal court not to talk of our own court.
“I believe strongly that everything works together for good for those that love Jesus.
“So every disappointment shall be our own stepping stone.
“I advice that we obey the rule of law and adjust our own timetables to be in conformity with the timetables of the EBSIEC.”
The Governor encouraged those who initially won the party’s ticket in the first primaries not to despair as they could still repeat the same feats as the party conducts fresh primaries.
He called on the party Chairman, Onyekachi Nwebonyi, to consider offering some discounts on the cost of fresh forms for those who participated in the cancelled primaries.
Nwebonyi, while addressing the party faithful, explained that the PDP had received a letter from EBSIEC confirming the change in the timetable for the election, which was recently announced to take place on August 15.
He regretted the development where the party was asked by the Court to re-conduct its primaries, which was concluded before the COVID-19 lockdown, pointing accusing fingers at some party members as the engineers of the court order.
He noted that the party would advertise for sale of forms and advised anyone who could not participate in the previous primaries to be at liberty to purchase forms and participate this time.
He, however, insisted that the party would not wave the cost of Forms for anybody due to the enormity of the expenditures awaiting it in the course of the electioneering process, adding that the party was not being funded by the State Government.
Nwebonyi explained: “Just yesterday, some people rumoured that the elections would not hold as scheduled, and today EBSIEC brought a letter to us confirming the rumours.
He said: “The party is not happy with what we are seeing, and we believe strongly that some of our party men and women are behind it.
“It is worrisome that after having primaries done, we are asked to redo it.
“How are we going to start after doing our primaries?
“Do we go back to the drawing board?
“We are not happy with development, but being a law abiding party, we have no option than to abide by the decision of the court as being directed to us by EBSIEC .
“We shall revisit our primaries and we shall put our house in order to ensure we participate validly in the fourth coming local government elections.”
Earlier, the Chairman of Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission, Jossy Eze, had addressed a meeting of political parties and other election stakeholders in the State, where he announced the change in date of the election from August 15 to August 29, 2020.
Eze explained that the commission was served a court order from the Federal High Court restraining the commission in the interim from going on to conduct the local government election without and until the commission has issued a revised timetable that will give another opportunity to the claimant in that suit or the party to partake and opportune to have their party primaries conducted.
Eze stated: “We have fixed a new date for our local government election and other activities.
“It is the position of the commission to carry all political parties along.
“Today we have deemed it necessary to invite you once more and announce to you certain decisions that have to do with the 2020 local government election in Ebonyi State.
“Some people asked us whether we are going to give room for fresh primaries and other activities?
“As a powerful commission, we took an oath to abide by the law of the land, and we have to obey the court order from a competent court.
“One of the parties have gone to court to ask for a window of opportunity to participate and conduct their own party primaries.
“We are revising the timetable of the election to hold on a new date.
“Therefore, by the powers conferred on the commission, I announce that the new date for the 2020 Local Government election is on Saturday, 29th August, 2020.”
Meanwhile, some of the aspirants who had clinched the party’s ticket in the first primaries expressed utter disappoint with the development, complaining that charging them for fresh primaries would tantamount to exploitation from the party,
Speaking under condition of anonymity, one of them expressed fears of a grand plan by the party to rob some of them of their tickets.
He called on the party leadership to waive the cost of fresh forms for them, and urged them to ensure that no aspirant was unduly treated.