Outgoing member of the House of Representatives for Aniocha/Oshimili constituency of Delta State, Mrs. Amaechi Mrakpor, has accused the winner of Wednesday’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary for the Aniocha/Oshimili constituency, Ndudi Elumelu, of disobeying Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s earlier directive not to give delegates more than N100,000 each during the primary.
The primary, which was conducted amidst heavy sporadic shooting midway into the counting of votes, followed by disruption of the exercise by the federal lawmaker, as well as the slapping of an electoral officer by the state PDP chairman, Mr. Kingsley Esiso, saw Ndidi Elumelu emerge winner with 266 votes.
He was declared winner by the Returning Officer, Uzor Nwadu, with Mrakpor scoring 226 votes.
Speaking with journalists in Asaba, the Delta State capital on the outcome of the primary, wife of the Delta State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mrs. Mrakpor, alleged that her closest rival induced more than 500 delegates with $1,500 each, noting that the action was a violation of Okowa’s earlier directive that no aspirant should give more than N100,000 to each delegate for logistics.
Mrakpor said: “On the night of October 1, some delegates from my local government informed me that Elumelu was giving delegates $1,500. I didn’t quite believe it because, before then, the governor had announced that no aspirant should give any delegate more than N100,000 for their accommodation, transport and feeding.
“That was the briefing we got and I got ready with N100,000 each. But by the night of October 1, I received a phone call that Elumelu was giving out $1,500 or N550,000 and I confirmed it.”
Mrakpor, said to be Okowa’s ‘anointed’ candidate, alleged that after Elumelu voted, “he came back and started campaigning to the delegates while voting was going on. After that he brought out a Ghana-must-go bag and started sharing jollof rice and chicken and nobody cautioned him.
“I was trying to be obedient. He shared about $800,000, and just yesterday morning, he went out again to share another ‘dollars for breakfast’ to the delegates. Nobody stopped him.” Mrakpor said.
In a swift reaction, Elumelu refuted all the allegations levelled against him by Mrakpor, and urged her to accept defeat and work with him.
It was reliably gathered that Okowa was not happy that his preferred candidate, lost the ticket, and that the governor has not forgiven Elumelu for refusing to step down for him during the PDP governorship primary in 2014. He is said to have ordered that the primary be conducted again so as to favour the incumbent federal lawmaker.
Meanwhile, in following the governor’s directives for a repeat of the primary, Mrakpor mobilised delegates loyal to her on Friday to the cenotaph, venue of the rerun primary, where they waited all day for PDP and INEC officials, who did not show up until Mrakpor and her delegates left the venue disappointed at about 5:30pm.
Sources in the PDP confided in our correspondent that Tony Elumelu, elder brother to winner of the primary, who is chairman of United Bank for Africa, has contacted Governor Okowa over the development, warning him to desist from the arrangement for a repeat of the primary.