Two prominent Ijaw youth leaders from Bayelsa State on Thursday dumped the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) following the fallout of the party’s primary elections in the state.
A former President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Udengs Eradiri and ex-National Mobilization Officer of IYC, Elvis Donkemezuo, who were aspirants in the elections, complained bitterly that the process was marred by irregularities and violence.
Donkemezuo, immediately defected to the Young Democratic Party (YDP), to actualize his aspirations of representing Kolokuma-Opokuma Constituency 2 in the State House of Assembly.
But Eradiri, who aspired to fly a PDP flag for the Yenagoa-Kolokuma-Opokuma Federal Constituency, in a press briefing in Yenagoa said he was still consulting with his supporters and family members to decide his political future.
He described the Wednesday primary election in which a former Secretary of State Government (SSG), Steve Azaiki, was declared the winner, as a sham adding that thugs mobilized by state forces attacked delegates and shot at him.
Eradiri lamented that delegates from 12 wards in his constituency were not allowed to vote saying he witnessed the highest level of intimidation despite promises of a free and fair election by the party.
He said with his experience as an aspirant, the PDP leaders had learnt nothing from the lack of internal democracy and imposition of candidates that made them lose the 2015 general elections.
He said: “I am dissatisfied with the way the primaries went, right from when ward congresses were conducted. The ward congress election did not hold. Names were written, we protested but nothing was done about it.
“At the primaries, I saw the height of an undemocratic process. In fact 12 wards from my Federal Constituency were excluded. It was marred by violence. People were mobilized to violently attack our supporters and I was shot at.
“Above all the principles of the true free and fair democratic process was not adhered to. It is not as if I wasn’t expecting this but I thought that as a party which came out of 2015 wounded as a result of lack of internal democracy and inposition of candidates probably leaders would have learnt some lessons.
“The PDP is going into an election with an opposition and ruling party that has everything that it takes to win an election. We saw what happened in Ekiti and Osun states so the only way the PDP can make progress is by ensuring internal democratic process.
“So, having considered all the factors surrounding it I have come to the conclusion that the PDP is not where I would be able to express myself. I am a young man with a lot of energy and drive to add value to the society.
“I think that the agitation for justice in the Niger Delta must migrate from the streets to the table of political discus and that is when people who are knowledgeable find themselves in the law-making part of governance”.
Eradiri said it was unfortunate PDP chose to treat him like an outcast despite his loyalty and contributions to the party.
He said: “I have learnt the hard way. I want to formerly thank the leadership of the PDP and the leadership of the state for giving me the opportunity to learn the ropes of politics.
“I want to formerly inform the world that today the 4th October 2018, l formerly exit the PDP. My letters will be ready and I will forward it to my ward through which it will be forwarded to the leadership of the council.
“Going forward I am engaging in conversation with my supporters and I will communicate again to the world the next line of action”.
On his part, Donkemezuo, who was received by the leaders of the YDP described the PDP as a wilderness and expressed happiness that the YDP had given him the light.
“It was unfortunate what happened in the PDP. We have seen imposition of candidates. We have seen lack of internal democracy, violence, intimidation and impunity in the highest order.
“My constituency was not allowed to vote in the National Assembly primaries. My ward chairman was beaten and stripped naked. Monies and phones were stolen and that is not the kind of ideals l have for politics.
“Violence and intimidation does not conform to my principles in politics. It is part of these reasons l chose to pursue my ambition in other platform where there is decency”.