There was pandemonium in the early hours of Wednesday, September 26 as aggrieved stakeholders and party faithful stormed the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja to protest against the alleged directive by the party’s national secretariat that automatic ticket be given to the incumbent senator representing Kogi East senatorial district, Attai Aidoko, to return to the Upper chamber.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions, including “Kogi East say no to automatic ticket.” No senatorial primary, no PDP in Kogi State. Beware of doom”. “Release the clearance certificate to all our aspirants in Kogi East”. “It is undemocratic, un-civilised, barbaric and a dead end to PDP in Kogi State and Kogi East” and “Imposition of candidate is imposition of death.”
Speaking to newsmen, a party stalwart from Dekina Local Government Area in the zone and Chairman of the Kogi PDP Youth Masses Movement, Mr. Ahmed Suleiman, said: “The PDP is not a one-man business. We are giving the party 24 hours to reverse its decision, else we will leave the party. I promise you it will be the end of PDP in Kogi State and Kogi East.
“We are competent and have a right to question the ongoing attempt by the party leadership to deny us the right to participate and vote for our choice in a fair elective contest”.
The protesters further cautioned the party to save itself from being wiped out in the state, adding that the move of the state and national working committees to “sell” the ticket of Kogi East is ill-advised, warning that the action would amount to weakening the PDP to the advantage of its rivals.
“We are appalled by the decision to grant automatic ticket to an individual in Kogi East to placate him above the collective wish and general good of a greater number of politically conscious Kogi East, thereby limiting the pool of competent candidates available, from which the party can select its flag bearers in the forthcoming elections.”
Suleiman, who described the situation as dangerous, recalled that imposition of candidate, lack of open space and impunity railroaded PDP into the implosion from which she is yet to recover.
“It would appear that our party has not veered away from that ignoble course to allow popular political reasoning of free and fair democratic practices prevail,” he said.
They demanded that the party leave the political playing field open and level for all qualified aspirants in Kogi State. “This is the only way the party can pick its best candidates for the general elections against the ruling party that is gathering momentum as the elections approaches.”