By Amby Uneze in Owerri
Elders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) 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. They also accused the interim national chairman of the party, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff of showing personal interest and manipulation of the process.
In the same vein, the High Court sitting in Owerri has directed the Plaintiffs to serve the defendants before the commencement 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 were served, urging the parties not to do anything 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 a serving senator 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 lease 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 setup, 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, Arc. Amugo Ugorji, former chairman of JAMB and one time local government chairman of Owerri Local Government also subscribed for 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.