EZEIFE, OTHERS PUSH FOR NWODO'S REPLACEMENT
Fresh attempts are being made by bigwigs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the South-East to call on the party to immediately fill the national chairmanship seat vacated by Dr. Okwesilizie Nwodo. The party chiefs led by former Anambra State Governor, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, rose from a meeting at the weekend in Abuja with a call on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene by ensuring that Ndigbo refill the post.
They said in a communiquÃ© that with the present arrangement in the party, the geopolitical zone had been marginalised in the power structure of the country.
According to the group, it will be dangerous for the PDP to go into the general elections in April without a substantive national chairman from the South-East. Nwodo was forced to quit as chairman of the party in January after the party's national convention that produced Jonathan as PDP presidential candidate.
There were insinuations that the Presidency with the tacit understanding of the party had decided to shelve replacing Nwodo until after the general election, to create a semblance of North/South balancing in the party.
The acting national chairman of the party, Dr. Haliru Mohammed, is from Kebbi State in North-East and Jonathan from South-South. But Ezeife and others, including former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Agunwa Anaekwe (Anambra) and Prof. Ihechukwu Maduike, warned that the party and its presidential candidate should not toy with the interest of the South-East and its voting population.
The communiquÃ© said: 'It will be too dangerous and counter-productive for the PDP to allow this current status quo to remain longer than necessary or to snowball into the next general election.
'That it is spurious, self-serving and infantile to argue that time is too short for the party to have another national chairman or that the Acting National Chairman be allowed to use the national chairmanship position to rally support from his people for President Jonathan. This, to us, is a celebration of failure.'
The group urged Jonathan to intervene in the situation as 'his continued silence on this may be assumed to be acquiescence.'
The South-East leaders said in the communiquÃ© that it would be dangerous to go to the April poll without a South-East national chairman when 'there are over seven million registered voters in the core South-East states and over 17 million other Igbos who registered across Nigeria are already mobilized to cast their vote for the candidacy of President Jonathan unless they are forced to do otherwise.'