ENUGU PDP CRISIS: CHIME'S GROUP ACCUSES NWODO'S FACTION OF BLACKMAIL
The Enugu State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), loyal to Governor Sullivan Chime, has warned the rival faction loyal to former national chairman of the party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, to stop blackmailing President Goodluck Jonathan.
The warning came as the president arrives in Enugu today to flag off his campaign for the South-east zone and in reaction to a statement credited to the factional chairman of the party in the state, Mr. Okey Ogbonna, who, on Wednesday, at a press briefing in Abuja, urged President Jonathan not to indulge in an illegality at the presidential zonal rally.
He had urged the president to hand over the party's flag to Chief Anayo Onwuegbu, who an Abuja High Court had ordered INEC to recognise as the party's standard bearer of the party in the state in the interim.
But the Chairman of state PDP faction loyal to Chime, Chief Vita Abba, yesterday in a statement said the chapter condemned and disassociated itself from the alleged publications, 'asking the president to obey the rule of law and hand over the party's flag to an aspirant when there is one PDP gubernatorial candidate in Enugu State in the person of Governor Sullivan Chime.'
Abba argued that the issue of handing over the party's flag was purely an internal affair of the PDP, adding that there was no court order restraining the party from handing over same to its candidate in the state.
'Importantly, since there is no record indicating that the national leadership of our party, directly or indirectly, accepted or submitted any other name to INEC apart from Governor Sullivan Chime, it is, therefore, an act of irresponsibility for any member of the party or a group of individuals to lay false claim to candidates of the party and resort to cheap blackmail to further their desperation.
'It is also a flagrant disobedience to Article 21(l) of the Constitution of the party for these disgruntled elements to choose the media and court as their first port of call to register their grievances, without first exhausting the internal mechanism of the party. 'It is also on record that the so-called Okey Ogbonna is only but a member of the opposition Labour Party (LP) in EnuguState and is expected to join his associate and the governorship candidate of the party, Mr. Okey Ezea, the moment the truth over the authentic candidates of the PDP is revealed.
'The party, therefore, wishes to remind Mr. Okey Ogbonna and his dissident group on the need to watch their tongues and take judicious note of the level of public ridicule and the consequences of their utterances on the integrity of the party and the presidency, which we hold very dear,' Abba said. He insisted that Ogbonna was a well-known member of the Labour Party in the state, saying that Chime was duly nominated and presented by the party to the INEC as its gubernatorial candidate in Enugu State in the April 2011 polls alongside other candidates for the national and state assemblies positions.
'In view of the above, there is no doubt that the publication was aimed at blackmailing the integrity of our party's national leadership and its leader, His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, on their abilitto handle the unfortunate developments in our state chapter, occasioned by the inordinate ambitions of a few individuals who are bent to destabilise the party after losing out in their attempt to hijack its machinery for their selfish inte ests,' Abba said.
He said the state chapter of the party would have wished to refrain from joining issues with the sponsors of the publication as they knew that their arguments were baseless, regretting that 'their desperate actions and activities during and after the period their godfather was the national chairman of the party were at variance with the constitution of our party and will definitely not stand.'