Last Saturday’s primaries to select House of Assembly candidates for the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) in Delta State turned bloody at Aviara, Isoko south local government area of the state, when one S.K. Hezekiah, an aide and relative of the deputy Majority Leader in the state legislature, Johnson Erijo, allegedly shot a female constituent.
Some party members accused Mr. Erijo of stocking eight pump action guns in the trunk of one of his vehicles in anticipation of protests over the way the primaries were conducted in the legislator’s hometown of Aviara. “No opposition was allowed at all,” according to one source, adding that Mr. Erijo, who is also the house committee chairman on information, was determined to kill in order to have his way.
The source and two other eyewitnesses said Mr. Erijo’s relative brought out a pump action gun and started shooting sporadically. “In the process, a female constituent was hit several times,” said one source.
“It was a terrible situation at Aviara. So many people would have lost their lives all because of power,” said another source. He said the injured woman was an indigene of Olomoro.
“If in ordinary primaries we have started shooting people what will happen during the main elections in 2015?” another source wondered. He added that the victim of the shooting was in critical condition and had been rushed to a hospital for treatment.
Confirming the incident, a top PDP executive member from Isoko South local government area, who sought anonymity, insisted that the shooting injury was not intentional, arguing that nobody was targeted.
“The incident happened at the residence of the lawmaker during a jubilation party after the primaries, but it was not intentional. I was there live.” He added, however, that he and others were alarmed that dangerous weapons were being shipped into Isoko south for the 2015 election.
Calls and messages sent to Mr. Erijo’s mobile phone number were not answered.
Meanwhile, numerous protests trailed the primaries conducted throughout the state, with many protesters alleging that candidates were imposed and result sheets hijacked.
An aggrieved executive member of the state PDP accused Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of hijacking result sheets throughout the state to ensure that the candidates he favored were declared winners. He claimed that Mr. Uduaghan gave N100 million to members of the panel sent by the national headquarters of the party to monitor the assembly primaries.
At Ethiope East Constituency, four aspirants vying to represent the area in the State House of Assembly boycotted the primaries owing to the non-availability of result sheets. The party chairman for the council, Kings Okpako, and the “electoral officer” for the election, Alofe Dike who arrived at the venue about 5:30 p.m., stated that all electoral officers for the elections were not given result sheets, only ballot papers. This information angered one of the aspirants, Blessing Enamuotor.
Visibly angry, Mr. Enamuotor said he had sent a vehicle that accompanied the entourage of the electoral officers from Asaba to Isiokolo, alleging that the electoral officer and his team had branched off to the Abraka residence of the immediate past Ethiope East council chairman, Mr. Oniorode Sunday, where they spent about 20 minutes having delivered the result sheets to the former council boss.
At Uvwie local government area, the town hall slated for the primaries was under lock and key when our correspondent. Our correspondent later learned that the delegates were assembled at the local government council headquarters at Effurrun. The chairman of the council, Henry Baro, told reporters that the venue was changed to forestall any form of violence and that the owners of the town hall had said they did not want any political event to hold there for fear of violence erupting.
In Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South local government council, protests erupted following what the people described as the fraudulent means used to award the party ticket to a female aspirant perceived to be the state governor’s candidate.
On Thursday night, gunmen attacked Godspower Etih, an aspirant for the House of Assembly seat in Warri Constituency II. His supporters accused a fellow aspirant of masterminding the armed attack that happened about 9 p.m. when Mr. Etih visited his family house off Lower Erejuwa Road in Warri. Mr. Etih was still critically ill in a private hospital as the primaries got underway on Saturday.
At Oleh in Isoko south local government area, Mr. Obi Eneruvie, supporters of the former House of Assembly member, Benjamin Efekodo, manhandled the chairman of the PDP in the local government area. The intervention of security agents stopped the situation from turning tragic, according to eyewitnesses. A former commissioner for special infrastructures in the state, Ms. Orezi Esievor, was declared the winner of the primary.
Meanwhile, three of the four aspirants in Ethiope East have warned against the announcement of any result, insisting that there were no PDP primaries in the council area. In a petition titled “Abortion of House of Assembly Primaries Election in Ethiope East of Delta State for Lack of Availability of Result Sheets,” addressed to Bernard Ochepa, the chairman of the House of Assembly Primaries Committee, the candidates called for a new date for the primaries election.
The petitions was signed by the incumbent lawmaker representing the constituency, Joseph Oshevire, Blessing Enamuotor, and Godwin Demide, on behalf of themselves and all delegates. The petition claimed that the primaries had been hijacked.
“This is to draw your attention to the abortion of the primaries election in Ethiope East State Constituency of Delta State. This is as a result of the admission by the Returning Officer that he did not come with original of result sheet, which angered the delegates calling for the postponement of the primary election upon production of a result sheet for the election.
“We call on you to fix another date for the primary election to be supervised by credible personnel with complete materials including an original result sheet in order for Ethiope East PDP members to elect a candidate of their choice. Take note that should this honest request be ignored, Ethiope East will again fall into the hands of opposition, a repeat of what happened in 2011 primary election that resulted to mass exodus of PDP members from the party to give victory to the opposition party.”
The petition was copied to the national chairman of the PDP, the national secretary of the PDP, the national organizing secretary, Governor Uduaghan, the state’s deputy governor, the speaker of the state legislature, the member representing the constituency in the House of Representatives, the state chairman of the PDP, and the chairman of Ethiope East local government.