UNEASE, AS DEFECTIONS RATTLE ABIA PDP
Trouble is looming in the Abia State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). Major stakeholders and notable aspirants are decamping to well-organized smaller parties, where they believe peace reigns.
There were allegations that the state leadershp is far from being fair in the administration and running of the party.
Pointedly, the leadership is accused of political favouritism, fear and uncertainty have gripped members.
Two of the areas mostly affected by this development is Abia North and Central Senatorial district where two chieftains of the party, a governoship and Senatorial aspirant, have openly resigned their memberships to join other parties.
In Abia North Senatorial district, Pedro Madukwe, a PDP senatorial aspirant told his supporters that the party has lost its charm and that anyone still hoping to achieve anything without the interference of the powers that be will be wasting time. For this reason and others, he crossed over to Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) where he said he would continue with his ambition.
In Abia Central, Ochiagha Reagan Ufomba, who had aspired to run for the governoship seat of the state under PDP discovered that atempting that would amount to a wild goose chase.
Answering questions recently on why he left PDP, Ufomba said that he left the party because the umbrella which once held the party together has been turn into shreds by the powers that be in the state.
He said that the integrity for which PDP was known has been eroded by corruption, which is 'an indication that the umbrella of PDP has broken'.
'The umbrella is now leaking. That is why I have crossed over to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) . Things we had as internal democracy in PDP have been eroded by corruption as aspirants for different positions are beinghandpicked. The party which preaches a level playing ground for all has failed in its own gospel. He said that his decision to bring about a change in Abia cannot be achieved in a party whose ideals are wobbled by leaders in the state.
'My declaration to you marks the beginning of a new dawn in our state, a new dawn that will bring about positive change. Our level of development compared to opportunities and resources available to us since the creation of our state reveal that we are yet to strike the right chord in our quest to guarantee a better life for our people, and this cannot be achieved in my former party, where I invested so much. The devils have taken over the party we toiled to build and we have to be outside to correct things, otherwise we would be associated with them as the same people,'
Ufomba told his audience.
Already, Madukwe has tendered his letter of resignation to PDP through his ward chairman and expressed interest in PPA by purchasing his nomination form with the intention of becoming the Abia North Senator in 2011. Speaking to Daily Sun on why he decided to leave PDP for PPA, he said that he has discovered that the party in Abia North is exploitative.
'The PDP in Abia North is full of exploitation to the point that stakeholders in the area have nominated some of them to see the governor who is the leader of the party in thestate and protest against the exploitation. My problem is that after paying N2.2 million official nomination fee for aspirants for the senate office, the leadership of the party has asked us to pay another N2 miliion. Abia North happens to be the home constituency of the state chairman, Chief Emma Nwaka, and despite what is going on, the chairman has not made any statement about this development.
The most paniful aspect of all these is that the governor and the leadership of the party in the state have decided on who they will give the ticket. Beneficiaries of such tickets and those the governor perceived as those who gave him softlanding, when he joined the party are the incunbent legislators. The party , I know, will organize a kangaroo primaries , where those already schemed will be said to have won.
Maduekwe said that his decision to leave PDP was based on the above reasons and more. 'I contseted the same seat in 2007 under APGA. but my decision to leave PDP and join PPA is because I have discovered that PPA is more transparent than PDP. I am happy to inform the good people of Abia State in particular, and Nigerians in general, that I have resigned my membership of PDP.'
This, I have done through my ward chairman. I had earlier written to the state chairman of the party, informing him of my decision to withdraw from the race for the Abia North senatorial seat in the 2011 general elections.
I did this on getting the information, backed with incontrovertible proof, that the party's Abia ticket for the 2011 general election is being contested for by about 15 of us, and that the ticket has already been given to one of us, by some elements within the state branch of the party, and their government sponsors. So it has become clear to me that the rest of us are only being exploited and used to lend credence to a corrupt and undemocratic process. The internal democracy which the party is preaching has been eroded by gross ineptitude and corruption.
'It is sad and most regrettable that the Abia state branch of the largest political organization in Nigeria, nay, Africa, which most of the badly governed and traumatized people of God's Own State looked up to for political salvation, is taking the power and its benefits further away from the people.
'It is bad and undemocratic enough that a political party or any branch, gives one or a few of its many aspirants for political offices the undue privilege to hand-pick members of the electoral college that will nominate its candidate from among the aspirants.
'It is far worse and totally intolerable that a political party or a branch thereof will secretly award the price of a political office contest to one of the contestants even before the contest', Madukwe said in his letter of resignation, he said. Lamenting further on what he described as the alleged woeful representation by their present Senator, Uche Chukwumerije, Madukwe said : 'We have regressed. Abia North is ecologically the worst in the state. No roads and nobody is talking about them.
Our senator [allegedly] receives N96 million quarterly as constituency development fund, and it is four times a year. I do not know what he does with such a huge sum of money meant for peoples welfare.
He said that Abia North zone must be redeemed this time around, so that the people will enjoy the dividends of democracy. And that he is the only person fit to accomplish that task.