CHIME'S EMERGENCE DOUSES TENSION IN ENUGU
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday in Enugu published the name of Governor Sullivan Chime as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for the April general elections. The development ended speculations that the governors' name had been dropped for another aspirant, Anayo Onwuegbu.
There had been apprehension in the state over which name would be posted by INEC following an exparte order granted by a Federal High Court in Abuja restraining INEC from accepting the governors' name as the Enugu PDP candidate pending the determination of the substantive suit in court.
Supporters of Onwuegbu who were full of expectations thronged the INEC office yesterday but were disappointed when the name and passport of Governor Chime became the second name of candidate to be published.
Fielding questions from newsmen on INEC decision to publish the governor's name, Enugu Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Josiah Uwazuruonye said he did not read the court order as a person and moreover, the lists of candidates were sent to him from Abuja.
He noted that the court order was not compulsive pointing out that whatever comes from the court may still change things and that the list may not be final.
Uwazuruonye who said he was speaking as a lawyer noted that an interim order lasts for about seven days; 'and it was an exparte order whereby the other party was not put on notice; they also have an interlocutory order which they will argue, that may be the deciding factor.'
The REC noted that the journey on the Enugu PDP guber case is still far and may even end at the Supreme Court and urged politicians in Enugu to eschew violence and play the game by the rules, assuring that INEC was set to provide a level playing ground for all contestants.
The INEC boss refused to release the list of candidates for other positions insisting that he was only authorized by law to publish the list of governorship candidates and going by the electoral law, the lists are to be published by the electoral officers at their various constituencies.
On why he did not publish the list last Sunday, the REC said the commission was still trying to make the necessary photocopies but confessed that he was inundated with calls throughout Sunday night; 'I must tell you that I did not sleep yesterday, people kept on calling but I told them that when we are ready, we shall paste the list.
Also published yesterday was the name of Chief Okey Ezea, a former governorship aspirant of PDP who dumped the party to pick the Labour Party's governorship ticket; and Dr. Dan Shere, a former Secretary to the Enugu State Government who is flying the flag of the Senator Chimaroke Nnamani-led Ebeano political group, PDC.
Others were Pastor Ikechukwu Omenkeukwu-ACN, Ichie Paul Okafor -ANPP, Chief Jonathan Nweke-Hope Democratic Party; Charles Ibe- CDC, Chinonyelum Odumejemba-NCP and Emmanuel Ugwu-CPC.
Another surprise yesterday was the absence of the All Progressive Grand Alliance candidate Obinna Obiegue from the list of guber candidates.