The most remarkable thing that happened when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) conducted its special national convention on the last day of August 2013 was how former vice president Atiku Abubakar and five governors stormed out of the venue in protest. The rebels formed the new PDP (n-PDP) which later joined forces with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to defeat the former ruling party.
But the reason why the PDP had to hold an elective convention that day, just one year after it elected its national officers was because of a report by the electoral body, INEC, which queried the process that produced 12 of the 16-member PDP executive.
No to voice vote
According to INEC, the election of those officials by voice vote violated the guidelines for the conduct of the 2012 congresses and national convention of the ruling party. Afraid that the INEC position could affect the legitimacy of its actions going forward, the PDP had to conduct a mini-convention.
Now the PDP is asking INEC to show some consistency and annul Oshiomhole’s election, saying it was not held in compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
The PDP argument
Last Saturday at the Eagles Square in Abuja, Oshiomhole and 21 other aspirants were elected by affirmation at the APC national convention.
“We want to recall that in 2012 we had a convention which INEC declared a nullity because they said we did not follow the rules. As we speak today, the coronation that the APC conducted at Eagle Square did not fit into any of our electoral laws. And we, therefore, call on INEC to declare it null and void,” the PDP said on Wednesday through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
“All those who did not go through votes at the convention, all those who were elected by voice votes, INEC must declare their elections null and void because they did not go through the electoral laws.”
Ologbondiyan cited a section of the electoral act and a section of the APC constitution to make his point.
He quoted Section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act (as Amended): “The election of members of the executive committee or other governing body of a political party, including the election to fill a vacant position in any of these bodies, shall be conducted in a democratic manner and allowing for all members of the party or duly elected delegates to vote in support of a candidates of their choice.”
And then Article 20 of the APC Constitution, “Unless otherwise provided for, all party posts prescribed or implied by this Constitution shall be filled by democratically conducted elections at the respective National Convention or Congress subject, where possible, to consensus, Provided that where a Candidate has emerged by consensus for an elective position, a vote of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ by ballot shall be called, to ensure that it was not an imposition which could breed discontent and crisis.”
Where does APC stand: The APC through its Spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi, said the party would respond to the PDP at the appropriate time.
Where does the INEC stand: The electoral commission’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Osaze Uzzi, said it would only make a statement after it gets the report of the convention. Uzzi said INEC would only act if a party violated its own constitution or guidelines in the conduct of the business of its convention.