Uche Secondus

Alleged offer of automatic tickets to serving members of the National Assembly for the 2019 elections has sparked crisis between the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the aspirants.

The protesters, who stormed the party’s Abuja secretariat yesterday, demanded a level-play field for all aspirants through free, fair and transparent primaries across the states.

One of the protesting groups from Kogi State said offering automatic tickets to the legislators was a violation of the Electoral Act, the PDP constitution and the party’s guidelines.

In an address read by Dr. Halimat Hamzat on behalf of the group, the aspirants insisted that they must be given equal opportunity to be voted for, either through delegates’ election or direct primaries.

Hamzat said the party’s plot to offer automatic tickets to the lawmakers was uncovered last week when an aspirant for the House of Representatives visited the Abuja home of one of the party’s leaders, where he met a serving PDP senator.

He said the senator reportedly told the aspirant that tickets for National Assembly positions had been allocated to serving members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

“As if that was not enough, Senator Dino Melaye met members of the seven local governments in Kogi West on Friday and boasted that the issue of senatorial ticket has been settled by the highest organs of the party.

“Melaye told them that PDP’s senatorial ticket for Kogi West has been given to him, even as someone who recently defected to the PDP. This is in total disregard for the interests, eligibility and qualification of other aspirants,” Hamzat said.

The group expressed reservations about the possibility of the party leadership conducting free, fair and transparent primaries into the available National Assembly seats.

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