Anambra PDP Conducts Parallel Congresses

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Emeakayi, Oguebego emerge chairmen of two factions
Imo leaders want congresses cancelled, accuse Sheriff of manipulation

Charles Onyekamuo in Awka and Amby Uneze in Owerri
Two state chairmen emerged from the parallel congress conducted by the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Awka, the state capital, yesterday, confirming that the perennial crisis that had rocked the chapter for more than 10 years now was yet to be resolved.

While the Chief Chris Uba faction of the party in the state held its own congress at Emmaus house in Awka, where Chief Ejike Oguebego, the erstwhile chairman of the party recognised by the Supreme Court in its judgment of January 15, this year re-contested and was voted in by the factional delegates to continue to lead the chapter, the Chief Ken Emeakayi faction met at Marble-Arch hotel event centre in Awka where he was elected the chairman.

The ridiculous thing about the two congresses was that the congress committee appointed by the National office of the party for Anambra State PDP Congress and which was chaired by Hon. Ladi Edun was divided along the two factions prior to the exercise.

Seven members of the committee including the chairman, Ladi Edun and six others pitched their tent with Emeakayi faction supported by stakeholders like Senator Andy Uba, Senator Stella Oduah and Hon. Ben Nwankwo, among others.
The other four led by Alhaji Shettima Gwando pitched their tent with Chief Chris Uba faction. Also in this group were Senator Annie Okonkwo, Chief John Emeka, former Minister of State for Transport during Obasanjo’s second tenure as president, and Hon. Timothy Egboka among others.

Shettima Gwando leading three other members of the 11-member congress committee for Anambra State alleged that their chairman, Ladi Edun, who he did not even know bungled the committee’s assignment by compromising his position.
According to him, when some of them came to Anambra State on May 1, preparatory to meeting the state Administrative Secretary of the party for guidance as enunciated in the guideline for the wards, local government and state congress given to them, the chairman absconded and made himself incommunicado.

For two days according to him, four of them tried to get in touch with their chairman to no avail as his phone was switched off, a situation that made them become afraid thinking that something terrible may have happened to him on the way.

Meanwhile, leaders of the members of the party in Imo State have called for a total cancellation of the congresses currently being held in the state as a result of alleged flawed processes involved so far in the conduct of the congresses, as well as accusing the interim national chairman of the party, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff, of expressing personal interest and manipulation.

In the same vein, the High Court sitting in Owerri has ordered that further processes relating to the congresses in the state be withheld forthwith pending the determination of the argument on the motion on notice for interim injunction slated to resume on May 19, 2016.

In a suit No. HOW/320/2016 before Justice K.A. Ojiako between Vitus Nwajioha, Ingram Odimegwu and six others as claimants and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Samuel B. Gwamman, Secretary, Congress Electoral Committee of PDP, Imo State for and on behalf of the said Congress Electoral Committee as defendants, the court ordered that the applicants should serve and put the respondents on notice.

The court also ordered that by the prayers sought in the motion exparte for interim injunction, it was of the view that the matter was not ripe to be heard exparte, until the parties are served, urging the parties not to do any act that would have the effect of rendering nugatory any decision in the matter.

“That parties ought to and should respect the court proceedings. That the case be and is hereby adjourned to |May 19, 2016 for argument on the motion on notice”, the court orders.

Leading the protest against the Interim National Chairman of the party, the leader of the Coalition of True PDP Democrats, Dr. Alex Obi, who was the longest serving state chairman of the party that produced two elected governors, accused him (Modu Sheriff) of compromise with serving senator in the state to bring down the party in the state.

“We in Imo accuse him (Modu Sheriff) of having compromised. We accuse him of flawing the process to better his own interest. We accuse him that he is using his cronies to manipulate the process because he wants to be the national chairman. We want total cancellation of the entire process so that life can be brought back to the party. Imo hungers for a credible process so that the party can stand firm in the state.

“Ali Modu Sheriff must reverse the process and he must come clean and must not use individuals, no matter how close he has with those people from party affairs. If this is the type of leadership he is made of, then he is unfit to lead the party. He is inexperienced to manage the party nationally. One good way to encourage people to participate in the party is to allow them be part of the process, they should be allowed to freely choose their leaders and not handpick or cronies to represent the interest of the party”, he said.

Dr. Obi observed that congresses generally were designed to give a party new ease of life, particularly after elections when there would have been bickering, suggestions here and there, adding that congresses were supposed to give members measure to correct a few things that went bad in the process after elections.

“Imo state particularly welcomed the congress that was long overdue. We looked up to it with optimism that it was going to solve a lot of problems. At the grassroots the party had died because the party members were denied the opportunity to select their leaders. While those people who call themselves leaders are one side the grassroots was disassociated from them. It was expected that this chance to have the congress should give the grassroots the chance to nominate the leaders they have confidence in the name of the party, and that would have given the party a good light.

“The national leadership met and drew up a wonderful guideline in conduct of the congresses. As the congresses started in Imo, it was terribly flawed on several grounds. First, the issuance of forms for expression of interest of those who want to contest and Abuja only issued one form per position for each ward. In issuing one form for each office in each ward that means only one person is supposed to contest, no other person should contest in one position, it would have suffocated the interest of others who wanted to contest, and you will be killing the party by so doing.

“Therefore those who handled the congresses mis-handled it by issuing only one form for each position in each ward. There are about 18 positions to be contested for in each ward and only 18 forms were given. Secondly, they issued these forms through individuals, when they should issue it through the congress committee. They set up the congress committee and we were not quarrelling with the set up, what they should have done was to lodge it into a bank or set up an office so that anybody who want the form should go and obtain the form and freely contest. Until people are freely allowed to contest and a winner emerges in the open field there would be no peace”, he observed.

Another leader, Amugo Ugorji, former chairman of JAMB and one time local government chairman of Owerri Local Government also subscribed to total cancellation of the entire congress in Imo state.

“We the foundation members of this party that understood the spirit by which this party was formed and which led the party to tremendous successes for many years because we had men of integrity at that time. I want people of integrity to come forth and show us that so that we can move the party forward,” he stated.

Meanwhile scores of different groups from all the three zones of the state had continuously laid siege at the party office at 47, Okigwe road, Owerri with placards calling for the cancellation of the congresses.