Dr Blessing Nwagba, an aspirant in just concluded Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives primary election in Abia state, has accused the party of denying her the ticket because she is a woman.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Nwagba said she was denied the ticket to contest and represent Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency based on gender.
She faulted the primary election alleging, that there were a lot of irregularities, especially over voting.
Nwagba said delegates were accredited and voting was done but the number of votes counted exceeded the number of accredited voters.
She said there are video clips to show that the electoral team spent hours trying to ascertain where the additional votes came from but could not.
The aspirant said her agents raised alarm, drawing the attention of all the stakeholders and the general public to the development.
“While I demanded that the process be stopped, my opponent, Mr Uzo Azubuike was not worried about the discrepancies and wanted the process to continue.
“The electoral team did not yield to my demand to discontinue the process even though they had seen the discrepancies,” she said.
She added that in line with the electoral guidelines, she submitted an appeal along with those of the delegates before the appeal panel and until date, there has been no report.
“This is happening to me because I am a woman; long before the election, there were questions on the ability of a woman to deliver Aba.
“They have forgotten that this same woman fought through the courts in 2015 to regain the PDP mandate when the party lost all seats to The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)
“In 2011 I was made to step down for this same opponent and I obeyed the party and I went to the House of Assembly.
“There is always a way of marginalising women even when they know that you can do it; it is not fair on us, imagine, in the whole Abia state, PDP does not have any female candidate.
“24 State House of Assembly seats, eight House of Reps seats and three seats in the Senate, no woman is represented yet women are going to vote, this is not fair,” she said.
Nwagba said that at a time when the issue of 35 per cent affirmative action and women inclusiveness in governance were most topical, it was unfair not to field a single woman.
The aspirant said women are not meant for the kitchen alone as they are equally endowed to add value to society through good governance.
Nwagba said if due process was followed, she would have won the election because she worked hard and did all that was required to emerge victorious.
“It is not too late, whoever the party says is the candidate become the candidate; they should consider the plea of Aba people, they should consider the fact that women should be represented in governance and give me the ticket,“ Nwagba said.
She said as a foundation party-member which had delivered for the party at various levels, she remains loyal to the party and confident that the PDP will do justice to the matter before it is late.
In a related development, Mr Chukwudi Dike, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Abia on Sports said that since 2009, no member of Aba-Ngwa community had been given the opportunity to represent the constituency either at the House of Reps or at the Senate.
Dike who led a delegation of constituents to the PDP National Secretariat in Abuja to register their grievances on the conduct of the primaries said that they had been dominated by non-indigenes as only people from neighbouring Local Government Areas had occupied the seat.
He said the community supported two of its indigenes to contest in the just concluded PDP primary election but one died mysteriously after purchasing the form.
According to him, the community then threw its weight behind Nwagba, a serving member of the Abia State House of Assembly to clinch the ticket but the primaries was rigged.
“The way the primaries was conducted, it is not acceptable to us; we the constituents do not want Mr Uzo Azubuike who lost at the polls in 2015.
“We are campaigning for a fresher, an indigene, someone with capacity and experience and one the people in the Aba North and South are ready to support.
“Our prayers is that this ticket should be given to Dame Blessing Nwagba, an indigene and a woman with legislative experience,” he said
When contacted on phone, the PDP Assistant Publicity Secretary in Abia, Mrs Love Eze said she was not around at the time the election was conducted and could not comment on the matter she does not know.
When asked to recommend somebody to speak on the matter, the assistant publicity secretary said, “Blessing Nwagba who reported the matter to you should tell you those who where there.”
However, all efforts to reach the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan proved abortive.
Several visits to his office met him absent and several calls and text messages to his phone were not replied.
His Personal Assistant, simply known as Mr Richard was also contacted but no further response could be gotten from the party at the time of publishing this story.