The Ward Congresses of the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party held across the 192 Wards was marred with violence, shooting and absence of electoral officials.
A former lawmaker in the State House of Assembly, Hon Slyvanus Erauga, was beaten to a pulp at his Afashio community during the conduct of the congress.
Details of what led to the attack was still sketchy as at press time.
Pictures that went viral online showed Hon Erauga lying on the ground and surrounded by some boys.
At Ward six, Oredo local government area, gunmen shot to scare PDP members away after a disagreement over a list of consensus Ward executives.
Trouble started when some leaders produced a list saying the leaders had agreed the previous night but opponents to the list insisted on electing the executive.
In Ward Seven, Oredo local government area, PDP members waited till 2pm but didn’t see electoral officials.
They had to dispersed at about 3pm.
An aspirant to the Chairmanship position, Engr. Fred Okah. the tension being generated with the absence of electoral officials could lead to violence.
His words, “INEC officials and security personnel were present but the party official to conduct the election did not come. We waited from 9am till 2pm we didn’t see official.
“There was no primaries in Ward seven. You can see the people have left. We cannot wait till night.
“If we agreed on any list, we will read it out. We didn’t see anybody. The man to preside over the Congress did not come.”
Hon Oladele Bankole-Balogun described the Ward Congress as a sham and a mess.
Bankole-Balogun said there were instructions to conduct parallel congresses in certain areas.
“Crowds will be waiting somewhere but congresses will hold at another venue.”
Another chairmanship aspirants Chief Omi Imosili said the reports he got showed the congresses were peaceful.
“The Ward Congresses is going on fine. I am in Ward two Igueben and no issues anywhere.”
Senator Matthew Urhoghide commended PDP members for coming out to elect their executives.
A. Governorship aspirant who pleaded anonymity said the whole processes were rubbish and plot by the outgoing Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih to have his way of installing his successor.
Chairman of the Edo PDP congresses, Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Mankinde, said the party stands the chance of winning the governorship election in Edo State.
Makinde who spoke in Benin City after a brief meeting with the leadership of the party on how to conduct free, fair and credible ward congress said the meeting was centered around the people and their right to decide who govern them.
He assured Edo PDP that the process of electing their ward leaders would be transparent and void of any ambiguities.
“This is electoral committee put together to conduct the ward Congress and delegate election for Edo state.
“This is a process we are starting and it is centered around the people and at the end of the day no matter what people do, it is the people of Edo state that will determine who will be their next governor.
“We have been talking to the aspirants and there have been serious engagement sessions since yesterday and we are hopeful that Edo is going to be for PDP in the next election.
“We have taken out time to ensure that the process is transparent, free, fair and credible. So, you cannot say a process is not going to end well when it is just taking off”, he said.
“The opposition and their pessimist will say what they have to say but we have to do what we have to do to give confidence to our party members, the people of Edo state and Nigeria”, he said.
Chief Orbih said it was the first step towards taking over governance in the state.
Orbih said the congresses were free and fair. (NAN)