Anamabra PDP primaries: Two factions may hold parallel primaries today

By The Citizen

Tension is thick in the air in Anambra State ahead of the parallel governorship primaries by the two factions of the PDP in the state today.

The police command has already deployed over 4,000 of its men to ensure security of life and property during and after the primaries.

One of the primaries, organised by the Ejike Oguegbego faction, is scheduled for Emmaus House while the other organised by the Kenneth Emeakayi faction is slated for Dr Alex Ekwueme Square, both in Awka.

The national secretariat of the PDP recognises Prince Kenneth Emeakayi while Mr. Ejike Oguegbego is recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Oguegbego's chairmanship was upheld recently by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.

However, of the 15 aspirants seeking the party's ticket for the November 16 election, only one-Senator Andy Uba-is identifying with Oguegbeogu.

The remaining aspirants- Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Dr. Tony Nwoye, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, Iyom Josephine Anenih, Sen. Emma Anosike, Barr. Obinna Uzor, Walter Okeke, Amb. Jerry Ugokwe, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, Chief Charles Odunukwe, Ugochukwu Okeke and Sylvester Okonkwo-are in the other faction.

Factional chairman, Chief Emeakayi, told The Nation in Awka yesterday that 1,500 delegates would vote at his own primary election.

The delegates are from the 326 wards in the 21 local government areas of the state.

Although the Public Relations Officer of the Anambra State Police Command, Emeka Chukwuemeka, declined to put a figure to the number of policemen that would be on duty today, a source said more than 4,000 would be available.

The State Security Service (SSS) has equally mobilised its men to keep the peace.

The state director of SSS, Mr. Alex Okeiyi, said yesterday that the service was not interested in the PDP contest but to protect lives and property in the state.

Sources familiar with the confusion created by the factionalisation of the party in the state said there are more aspirants identifying with the Emeakayi faction because of its recognition by the national leadership of the party and the suggestion by supporters of Nwankwo, who was until now Secretary of SURE-P, that he has the backing of the Presidentcy.

Even Senator Uba is said to have one leg in each of the factions to ensure that he does not lose out whatever happens.

Two aspirants in the Emeakayi faction are said to be his men who could withdraw for him if and when necessary.

But one of them,Alex Obiogbolu, denied the speculation, saying: 'It is not my hope that I will not get the PDP ticket. Rather, it is my prayer that PDP will observe the guidelines that guide the primaries.

'Critical to it is secret voting, which is that secret instrument that makes democracy thrive.Anything short of it will cast aspersion on the total process and obviously provide a platform for the failure of the party.'

INEC's non-recognition of Emeakayi stemmed from what the commission called its non-monitoring of the process that brought him to power.

In an August 11,2013 letter to the National Chairman of the PDP,Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, INEC said that having considered all the cases on the Anambra PDP crises, it was not bound by the judgment of the FCT High Court, which nullified the congress at which Ogbuebego was elected, adding: 'The commission has resolved that it will not withdraw its letter with ref. No. INEC/EPM/PDP/24/1/153 of July 26 2013 by which it recognised Ejike Ogbuebego as chairman of PDP in Anambra State and shall be bound by the recent order of FHC, Port Harcourt.'

It alleged deliberate concealment by the PDP 'of the judgment of the FCT High Court delivered on July 5, 2012 in suit No. FCT/HC/CV/2631/2012 in the Emma Mbamalu vs PDP, by which the court declared the ward, local government and state congresses held in March 2012 in Anambra State at which Ejike Ogbuebego emerged as state chairman of PDP, null and void and ordered the PDP to conduct other congresses in Anambra State, though the commission was not a party in the suit.