Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The leadership crisis in Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) further escalated on Tuesday as the group loyal to the national leadership of Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff insisted that they would not recognise the state executive committee led by Chief Johnson Onuigbo.
Speaking at a news conference in Umuahia, the chairman of the group, Chief Chidi Nwosu, insisted that the new state executives elected at the state congress of May 10, 2016 were products of impunity, which have “bedeviled our party across the states.”
“Our aim is to fight for the end to impunity in our party,” he said, adding that he and other arrowheads of the pro-Sheriff faction in Abia were speaking for a vast number of party members who are aggrieved but for one reason or the other could not speak out.
“This is a mass movement; every member of the PDP believes in what we are doing,” Nwosu asserted.
He explained that the group decided to stand with Sheriff “because the principle he stands for in remodeling our party for progress is very pertinent” due to the state of affairs in the party. He said his group visited Sheriff on July 18, 2016 and presented a petition outlining their grievances over the state congress.
“The impunity of our party has grown beyond imaginations. We as individuals are not satisfied at the way the congress was conducted,” he said, adding that the executives were hand picked while those who bought nomination forms were denied the chance to contest for the various positions they sought.
Nwosu was flanked by other former state legislators, including Hon Emeka Ejiogu, who represented Umuahia North state constituency, Hon Chukwuemeka Osoagbaka, who represented Ikwuano as well as Uzodinma Ugele, who until last month was the state administrative secretary.
Corroborating his colleague, Ejiogu said: “What we are pursuing is in the interest of all other members of the party, adding that they complained to Sheriff because it was under him that the state congresses were conducted across the country.”
The former lawmaker lamented that he had bought nomination form to vie for the post of state party chairman but was shut out after Onuigbo was allegedly handpicked by “a cabal”, adding that that group actually complained to Sheriff about the “level of impunity that is killing our party here.”
Osoagbka also harped on the impunity in Abia PDP, noting that it was the major factor that made the party to lose 10 House of Assembly seats to the opposition during the 2015 election.
According to him, “leadership positions were given to persons who have no constituency” hence they could not deliver thereby making the party to lose in the areas under their control.
“If we get to a situation where mediocrity is celebrated in the state then we are finished, he said, adding that there was no reason why competence should be a liability.”
The former administrative secretary, Ugele, added that the impunity in the party made it possible for the immediate past state chairman to usurp his duties and shut him out of the committee that organised the state congress.