2015 Guber race: No rift in Enugu PDP, Says Party Scribe… As Dubem Onyia denies boycotting PDP Caucus meeting

By The Citizen

The Enugu State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has described media reports claiming that the party was in disarray over the emergence of Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as its consensus candidate for the 2015 gubernatorial elections in the state as “blatantly false, mischievous and calculated attempt to deceive the public.”

The party stated this in a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary, Dr Okey Eze that also   offered more insight into the circumstances that produced Ugwuanyi as the party’s consensus candidate.

Eze who described the process that led to Hon. Ugwuanyi’s emergence as 'an epitome of democracy”, said the reports were the handiwork of mischief makers who were determined to undermine the integrity of the party for selfish reasons.

He said, “The PDP in Enugu is as strong and united as it has been since the inception of the Sullivan Chime administration. The party is even stronger and more united now that we have a consensus gubernatorial candidate who was chosen through a very smooth, transparent and democratic process. It is the first time such a thing is happening in the history of the state. Any anyone saying the party is in disarray is clearly being mischievous”.

The Party spokesman regretted that the report had been anchored on false interpretation of the absence of a few key political figures at the State Caucus meeting of the party which endorsed Ugwuanyi last Saturday.

He stated contrary to the conclusion drawn by the reporters, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, former Senators Jim Nwobodo, Ken  Nnamani, and Fidelis Okoro as well as Chief Dubem Onyia,  had all sought permission to be excused  from the meeting due to  pressing official and personal engagements but  pledged to abide by the decisions reached there.

Eze said Chief Onyia has already issued a rebuttal through his Lawyer, of the report claiming that he boycotted the meeting when he had excused himself  as was abroad at the time the meeting was held adding that he attended the Enugu West caucus meeting that had earlier endorsed Hon. Ugwuanyi. The party spokesman further stressed that some other political figures, who were reported to have been absent at the meeting, were not members of the State caucus going by the party constitution and therefore could not have been part of the meeting. These, he said, included Admiral Allison Madueke (Rtd), Chief Anayo Onwuegbu, Frank Nweke jnr and Professor Barth Nnaji.

Eze noted that the journey to Ugwuanyi’s endorsement by the party had started on the, 26th of September when Governor Sullivan Chime convened a meeting of Enugu North Senatorial District caucus of the party, comprising of all the major stakeholders, past and current political office holders, party functionaries and gubernatorial aspirants.

At the meeting according to him, were “76 political heavyweights' from the zone chosen in accordance with the party constitution, in addition to all the 10 other gubernatorial aspirants from the zone.

He said that among the notable attendees were Senator Ayogu Eze, State Chairman of the party, Engr Vita Abba, Speaker of the Enugu House, Hon Eugene Odo, former National Chairman of PDP, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Hon Pat Asadu, Hon Princess Stella Ngwu, Dr Dan Shere, Ambassador Justina Eze, Dr Mrs Sally Adukwu, General Fred Eze (Rtd) and General Godwin Ugwoke (Rtd). Also in attendance were chairmen of  he local government councils in the zone and their deputies, all members of the House of Assembly from the zone and past and present office holders and all party executives from the area.

The ten aspirants in attendance were Ambassador Fidel Ayogu, Chief Okechukwu Itanyi, Professor Osita Ogbu, Chief Ikeje Asogwa, Professor Simon Ortuanya, Chief Eddy Ugwu, Mr Dan Onyishi, Prince Mathew Agu, Obetta Mark Chidi and Onyishi Maduka Sam.

Eze confirmed that the Governor did not disclose the purpose of the meeting in his invitation but said however that when he (Governor) introduced the 2015 governorship race as the topic for discussion, all the people present agreed to deliberate on it.

“The Governor allowed everyone to vent his views on the matter and at a time, he even offered to allow members of the caucus to go home and return at a later date but they all said no and agreed to stay back and discuss it right there and then”

Eze said that after extensive deliberations, the other aspirants agreed to step down for Hon Ugwuanyi adding that this was underscored by the fact that Ambassador Fidel Ayogu and Chief Okechukwu Itanyi who moved and seconded the motion respectively, were both aspirants.

The party spokesman stressed that Governor had called for a counter motion and when there was none, he proceeded to call a voice vote in which the members unanimously affirmed Ugwuanyi as the consensus candidate of the caucus.

“I wish to stress that the Governor never participated in the deliberations but everybody who wanted to speak was given the chance to speak and at the end of extensive deliberations, the other aspirants stepped down for Hon, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

Afterwards a formal motion was moved by Ambassador Ayogu for the caucus to adopt Hon Ugwuanyi as he consensus candidate of the zone, the motion was seconded by Chief Itanyi and it is instructive to note that these two gentlemen were aspirants. There was no counter motion and the proposal was later sealed by a unanimous voice vote. Members of the caucus congratulated themselves for holding such an unprecedentedly, smooth and rancour – free exercise and all pledged to work towards the election of the candidate in 2015″.

Dr Eze stressed that 'any other account of what transpired at the meeting was false and would also be an insult to the intelligence and integrity of the eminent personalities and party chieftains who were in attendance”.

He disclosed that shortly after the meeting and, in other to test the popularity of the decision of the Enugu North caucus, the Governor promptly summoned meetings of the Enugu East, Enugu West and State caucuses of the party all of which he said, unanimously adopted Ugwuanyi.

Notable among the 80 political figures at the Enugu East caucus meeting were, Senator Gil Nnaji, Hon Kinglsey Ebenyi, Hon Princess Peace Nnaji, Hon. Offor  hukwuegbo and the Chairmen of Local Government Councils, members of the House of Assembly, party executives and past and present political office holders from the zone. Senators Ken Nnamani and Jim Nwobodo could not attend but sent it their apologies.

Eze said that prominent figures at the Enugu West Caucus at the 81-member strong meeting included Power Minster Chinedu Nebo, Special Adviser to the President on NEPAD, Mrs Fidelia Njeze, Hon Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, Hon Toby Okechukwu, Local Government Chairmen, Members of the House of Assembly, party executives and past and present political office holders. He said Senator Ike Ekweremadu sought permission to be excused due to his official engagements abroad.