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TENSION IN ENUGU OVER FRESH PDP CONGRESS

By NBF News
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The order by the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that fresh congress be held in Enugu and Oyo between December 29 and 31 has heightened tension in the Coal City state as the two factions loyal to Nwodo and Governor Sullivan Chime grapple with the challenges of the congress.

In recent months the two factions have done the political battle at various levels and the verdict of the NWC on Monday seemed a resolve to break the perennial logjam.

The fresh congresses are expected to begin today with the election of executives that would run the affairs of the party in all the electoral wards in the state and the rival camps, which have been at each other's throats over the issue of new congresses.

Ahead of the anticipated congress, leaders of the faction of the party working with the national chairman of the party, raised the alarm over alleged plans by the rival camp to unleash violence at congress venues and at the country homes of former senator, Chief Fidelis Okoro and former information minister, Chief Nnia Nwodo.

Speaking for the Nwodo faction, Okey Ogbonna, who is also the secretary of the Nsukka caucus of the group, alleged there were real threats coming from the rival camp to the effect that home of the former senator and the former information minister would be bombed.

The group also alleged that classified information available to them indicated that rival camps had planned to unleash violence at the venues of the fresh congresses because it appeared to the governor's camp that it had lost the battle to stop the exercise.

Ogbonna, who spoke to Daily Sun after a closed door meeting of his camp on how to maximise the gains inherent in today's ward congresses stated that 'we are billed to conduct the congresses beginning from tomorrow as directed by the NWC but threats are coming to our leaders, Senator Fidelis Okoro and Nnia Nwodo.

'Our sources have told us that their homes will either be bombed or burnt down. They are also planning to attack the venues of our congresses, using political thugs that have already been engaged for that purpose.

'That is why we are calling on the police and other law enforcement agencies in the state to rise to the occasion and protect law-abiding party members from these planned attacks and we have accordingly written to the commissioner of police in the state. We are appealing to all the heads of the security agencies operating in the state to avert any such calamity,' he stated.

On the other hand, the Governor Chime camp has dismissed the order for fresh congress stating that it would amount to an exercise in futility.

Former national auditor of the party, Ray Nnaji, told newsmen in Enugu that it was out of place for a fresh congress in the state when the party had published list of primaries 'and parties have been obeying it from December 28 right from ward to state.

'It is an exercise in futility because of the fact that not only that there are several court matters in respect of the issue, the fact remains that existing executive of the party in the state is still in place. I don't know why a fresh congress should be ordered. As I am talking to you now the executive committee both at the ward, local government and state levels are intact, so why order for fresh congress.

'And this congress they are talking about has already been conducted and concluded; they have a list prepared; in Akpugo they held congress in peoples houses, one in Ndiagu and other places coordinated by Prince Sam Ejiofor; private homes, and they have the list. And before now the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo had printed the party register and cards and distributed to the whole wards and local governments in Enugu State and they have been using it. So to announce that congress will be done was just to formalise it and use the prepared list they already have. And these people fomenting this trouble are not members of the party. |

'Why should the congress hold; it cannot because the tenure of the state executive of the party has not expired; that is what the Court of Appeal said in Jos that when the tenure of the executive has not expired, you dare not do anything that will affect the tenure of the executive.'

The tenure of the present executive will expire in 2012 that is when another congress will take place. What we are doing now is party primaries and nobody should derail it for personal and selfish interest it is not proper.'