No fewer than 40 House of Assembly aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, stage a peaceful protest in front of the party secretariat in Port Harcourt.
The aspirants accused the leadership of the party of refusing to give Nomination and Expression of Intent forms after they had already paid for the drafts.
Addressing journalists, one of the aspirants, Hon. Kinika Wogu, said their efforts to get the forms from the party secretariat was being frustrated by the executives of the party on the directives of a higher authority.
Wogu said: “I have my drafts here, so are others. We have done the right thing. We have gone to bank to get our drafts, the next thing is for the party to give us forms but they are denying us. I have fulfilled all the necessary requirements.
“Having purchased this draft, I am entitled to forms,both the nomination and Expression of Interest Forms. We are party faithful. We are credible members of the PDP. It is our forms we want so we can partake in a fair contest. On getting here now they said the forms are not available.
Also speaking, another aspirant, Hon. Soprala Batubo, said they had tried to get the forms in Abuja on Tuesday but were advised by the National Financial Secretary of the PDP to go to their state to get the forms.
Batubo said: “We were at the national secretariat of our party yesterday to pick our forms but the Financial Secretary advised that we go to our state, Rivers State to get the form.
“Noticing our reluctance, he called the State Chairman, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, who assured him that the forms are available. Today now, the State Chairman and others are nowhere to be found.”
But, in a swift response, PDP leadership in the state, has said those who paid for forms were supposed to collect their forms at the place they made the payment.
The party, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by its youth leader, Joy Oyaghiri-Fagbemi, advised the protesters to channel their complain to where they paid for the forms.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Rivers State has been drawn to a protest lodged against the party by some persons claiming to be members of the party.
“They are alleging that they paid for forms for the State Assembly and were not issued the forms. Let it be known that people that paid for various forms, are meant to and did collect their forms at the venue/channel where they paid for the forms.
“Those that were issued forms in Port Harcourt are those that paid for their forms in Port Harcourt and some persons that purchased forms elsewhere, were issued forms in the places of purchase.
“We want to believe that there is a misunderstanding in their complaint and hope this release will address such misunderstanding. Let it be known that the PDP Rivers State is united in its desire to retain power in the state come 2023 and therefore, will not be distracted.”