ENUGU GUBER: NWOBODO, NNAMANI DUMP CHIME
The internal crisis rocking the Enugu chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has persisted even after the resignation of PDP national chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.
This is coming on the heels of key stakeholders and leaders of the party presenting Anayo Onwuegbu as the PDP's governorship candidate for the April general elections.
Among the leaders who adopted Onwuegbu ahead of Governor Sullivan Chime last week were former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former governor of old Anambra state, Jim Nwobodo, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, Senator Fidelis Okoro, Dr. Silas Iloh, Senator Hyde Onuaguluchi and four former military governors from the state among others.
The emergence of Onwuegbu from the PDP camp loyal to the former national chairman followed parallel primaries conducted on January15, 2011 by the Okey Ogbonna-led executive committee in which other senatorial, House of Representatives and the State House of Assembly candidates were also elected.
The bid of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu to return to the senate for a record third time also suffered a major setback, as the stakeholders equally adopted a former Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Authority, Mr. John Egesi in his place. From the list submitted to the party's national leadership by the stakeholders and signed by the chairman and secretary of the PDP in Enugu state, Chief Okey Ogbonna and Barrister Oyibo Chukwu respectively, for onward transmission to INEC, none of the incumbent members of the State House of Assembly, House of Representatives or Senate secured a ticket to return.
Briefing newsmen on the development yesterday, Onwuegbu, who also confirmed Chief Uche Ogbu as his running-mate, said his endorsement followed laid down procedure of the party, adding that the primaries that produced the candidates were held under the authentic party executive of Chief Ogbonna, which emerged from the congresses held between December 29-31, 2010.
He noted that the congresses, which were supervised by INEC officials and relevant security agencies followed the directive of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, which equally sent a panel led by Senator Sylvanus Ngele and Chief Sam Bassey as chairman and secretary respectively to monitor the exercise.
According to him, the fresh congresses became necessary following the dissolution of the Vita Abba-led executive by the PDP NWC after it was declared illegal by the INEC and the subsequent vacation of the two court orders that restrained the party from conducting fresh congresses in the state.
Onwuegbu maintained that his nomination as well as those of other candidates was done by delegates produced by authentic executive of the party in the state, adding that any attempt to subvert the collective decision of party elders, stakeholders as well as genuine delegates would be stoutly resisted.
'As I'm talking to you now, the party executive in the state after hearing a rumour that plans are underway to change the list that has been submitted to the party national leadership filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking for an order restraining the party from tampering with what has been done as well as stopping them from thinking of conducting any other congress in Enugu State.
'We hope that by the time the court rules on this, all these rumours about several candidates' lists flying here and there would have been laid to rest.' We are optimistic and preparing for the main election,' he said even as he disclosed that the NWC had long presented Certificates of Returns to the elected party executive as demonstrated in the list of delegates to the party National Convention which boldly appeared on the event's brochure.