Some youths in Umeh/Erowha Ward 08 in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta took to the roads on Monday to protest the imposition of a councilorship candidate by the Peoples Democratic Party for the forthcoming local elections in the state.
They accused Askia Ogieh, the managing director, Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), of foisting Millionaire Ojobor on them for the councilorship race.
They also alleged that the local government party chairman, Godspower Obaro, invaded houses of party leaders with his armed guards to forcefully obtain signatures from party leaders in the area to present Ojobor as the candidate despite Ojobor earlier stepping down from the councilorship race.
The youth rejected Ojobor and expressed their support for Louis Onofighe whom they said came second in the primary as Clever Obaro who emerged the winner has been dropped for no reason.
Demonstrating with placards, they called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the state’s party chairman, Kingsley Esiso, to stop the imposition of candidates in the party.
They said their preferred aspirant, Onofighe, had worked for the party and the community in so many ways, adding that he was a popular and trusted candidate that could represent the people better.
“Askia and the party chairman are not from our ward and our community, so why causing problems for us,” said the leader of the protesting youths, who identified himself as Oghenerobo.
“I bet you; you will be shocked by the kind of jubilation in the community when Louis Onofighe is presented as the party’s candidate. He is the rightful and preferred candidate since almighty Askia and the party chairman have refused to accept the winner of the primaries.”
A ward executive member of the party in the area, who witnessed the withdrawal of Ojobor from the primaries last weekend, accused the DESOPADEC MD and the party chairman of foisting Ojobor, who personally withdrew from the race, making Clever Obaro candidate who polled seven votes to clinch the party ticket for the local election.
“The PDP councillorship primary was conducted with the list released by the state executive of the party. Twelve party leaders and officials participated in the primary, with five aspirants initially, and one Ojobor withdrew from the contest. Whilst Goddy Imeba, Onofighe Louis, Akpobiyeri Raphael and Clever Obaro contested the primary.
“Clever Obaro won with seven votes, followed by Louis Onofighe who got four votes and Goddy Imeba one vote and no vote for Raphael Akpobiyeri. Four days after the primary was conducted, Godspower Obaro, the PDP chairman of Isoko South, came with his armed security men. He forced some leaders to sign a document that Millionaire Ojobor who publicly withdrew from the primaries won,” he said.
In an affidavit deposed to in a high court in Asaba by Owolo Daniel, a party leader in the ward, denounced the signature, alleging that it was forcefully and fraudulently obtained from him by the local government party chairman.
Owolo said he was among the leaders deceived into appending their signatures, which unknowingly to them was used to present Ojobor, who had withdrawn from the race before the primaries.
The alleged manipulators of the councilorship candidacy, Askia Ogieh and the local government party chairman, Godspower Obaro, have not responded to requests for comments by the time of this publication.