• PDP writes INEC, insists on Nwoye
By Wale Olaleye and Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, Sunday said he would lead the Labour Party (LP) governorship campaign in November 16 election in Anambra State.
This came as the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has written the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the stalemate over the governorship primaries of its party, asking the commission not to tamper with the nomination of Mr. Tony Nwoye as its candidate in the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State.
Speaking with journalists at the weekend shortly after its 16th National Executive Council (NEC), Omar said workers in the state had suffered in the previous regimes and wondered why they would toy with the opportunity to enthrone an LP government in the state.
He called on workers in the state to learn from the gains of the party’s governments in both Edo and Ondo States.
He said the LP would campaign in Anambra State the way it did in Edo and Ondo States.
"We will even do more, we will tell the skeptics that Labour is the party that Nigerians need if they want development as it's being witnessed in Edo and Ondo States," Omar said.
While endorsing the candidature of Ifeanyi Ubah, the NLC leader said: "We have now resolved that we will not only go and cast our votes and fold our arms after sensitising the workers and other Nigerians, but we will monitor the collation, the counting up to the declaration of the results. We will encourage every worker to ensure he or she is be part of the monitoring.
"Anambra State is a very unique area particularly to workers because if you go and ask the state workers if they are fully enjoying their minimum wage, you will hear their answer; whether they are very comfortable in their various places of work, you will hear the answer. Not only workers, even market women and other people, therefore I think Anambra people are desperately looking for a change and a change for the better."
Meanwhile, the PDP, in letter dated Friday September 13 and signed by its counsel, J.K. Gadzama and Managing Partner, J.N Egwuonwu, alluded to some newspapers’ reports that a factional candidate, Senator Andy Uba, had been upheld as the party’s candidate following order of the courts.
According to the letter obtained by THISDAY, PDP noted that the judgment, which ordered the parties to the dispute on the legitimacy of the Anambra State PDP executive to maintain the status quo, did not in any way infer that the nomination of Nwoye through the primary conducted by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) should be upturned.
Insisting that the conduct of governorship primaries of the party is an exclusive function of the NEC as stipulated in Section 87 of the Electoral Act, the letter stated that a change of leadership even if enforced on the party could not alter the job procedurally done by the NEC which produced Nwoye as the party’s candidate.
While appealing to Jega to maintain the integrity of the commission, PDP stated: “Sadly, this order of court, most especially the third paragraph which states that the 1st and 2nd Defendants (the Peoples Democratic Party, and the Independent National Electoral Commission) should recognise and deal with the 1st plaintiff (Ejike Ogbuebego) in all matters in Anambra State has been badly misconstrued and the position of the court deliberately and mischievously misrepresented. Some media houses even reported that the Court had upheld Andy Uba’s nomination as the PDP Anambra State Gubernatorial Candidate when nothing of the sort transpired in court.”
While maintaining that the court order “does not in any way relate to the nomination and election of Hon. Tony Nwoye as the Gubernatorial Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Anambra State (which nomination and selection has not been invalidated or nullified by any court in Nigeria),” it stated: “Rather, it is with respect to who is the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Anambra State. The issue of who is the valid gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Anambra State does not in any way concern the State Chairman of the Party in Anambra State; rather it is a function of the National Executive Committee of the party.”
Gadzama however made references to judicial pronouncements which he said were in accordance to Section 87 (1)(4)(b)(i) of the Electoral Act as amended and “confirmed that only the National Executive Committee of the party has the power to conduct primaries for governorship elections in Nigeria.
However, the National Chairman of the party, Dan Nwanyanwu, said there was no need for the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to runaway from the negotiating table.
He said the party's NEC was of the view that government should look passionately on the demands of ASUU while lecturers should also look at where to offer some concessions so that the students will return to classrooms.
"There is no need of flexing muscles, the truth is that education sector is in comatose, I am talking as a pro-chancellor of a state university. These things happened over the years and government must not sign agreement he does not intend to honour, that is the point ASUU is making.
"If you put your signature on a document, implement it. There is no need for the federal government not to implement the agreement he made with ASUU. If you did not want to meet the agreement there was not reason for you to sign it, that is why ASUU is suspecting the government that it just wants to get them back to work and they will not honour the agreements. They should honour the agreements, return to the negotiating table and agree on those issues," Nwanyanwu said.
On the crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party also warned "anti-democratic forces against using the current political challenges to derail democracy, adding that Nigerians have accepted democracy and not dictatorship.