Ahead of the Anambra State gubernatorial election, no fewer than three of the 16 aspirants jostling to become the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for the poll have stepped down from the race.
The three aspirants that shelved their ambition to become the party’s flagbearer include a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Emeka Etiaba, and a former member of the House of Representatives, Tony Nwoye.
As gathered, the three aspirants stepped down from the gubernatorial primaries hours before commencement of the exercise that was been held at the Dora Akunyili center in Akwa on Saturday.
The exercise was approved by the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) in spite of the court cases against it basically to avoid been disqualified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after fixing November 6th, 2021 for the polls.
Confirming the development, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shuaibu, who promised to provide the name of third aspirant, said that they have notified the five-man committee set up by the party of their decision and that their names have been removed from lists of aspirants.
Shuaibu, who serves as secretary of the five-man governorship primary election committee chaired by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, in an interview with newsmen at the venue, assured members of the party particularly the delegates that the exercise would be free and fair.
Corroborating Shuaibu, one of the aspirants, Nwoye, in a statement released after stepping down, hinted that the development within the party less than 36 hours before the exercise was responsible for his decision.
The aspirant, who instructed his supporters to vote for any aspirant of their choice, expressed dissatisfaction with the process put up by PDP leadership, saying he does not have any belief in the process.
Nwoye’s statement reads: “We all have been witnesses to the disconcerting flurry of events in our party in the last 36 hours. Developments which should be of grave concern to every true democrat and believer in the inalienability of the rights of true party people to freely choose the party’s flagbearer in the upcoming gubernatorial elections in our beloved state, Anambra.
“On Thursday, I was still actively traversing the hinterland in my last-minute consultations/mop-up with the duly elected ad hoc delegates of the party in the 326 electoral wards of Anambra, ahead of the primaries slated for Saturday, 26th June when I was jolted by the news of the party’s National Working Committee’s (NWC) release concerning the party’s primaries.
“In the NWC release, the entire ward level executives of our party, the L.G.A executives and State executives of our party (who, by our edicts are bona fide statutory delegates) and also the elected ad hoc delegates (3 from every ward), who emerged from the duly conducted delegate election of the party that held on 10th June, 2021 will no longer be voting in the primaries election. Instead, only a handful of automatic/super delegates whose names appeared in a made-up list will be deciding who flies the party’s flag at the Nov 6 governorship polls holding in the state”.