Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Hundreds of stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Aninri council of Enugu State yesterday decried alleged imposition of chairmanship candidate on them in readiness for the November 4 local government election in the state.
Aninri is the council of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
The protesters under the aegis of Aninri PDP Concerned Members converged on Okpara Square in Enugu from where they marched through major streets of the capital city, before heading to the Government House.
Addressing newsmen, the leader of the group, Mr. Marcel Anayochukwu accused a notable politician from their area of unilaterally imposing a non-member of the party on them as candidate.
Anayochukwu said that the said imposition had caused uproar in Aninri, adding that the PDP was at the verge of losing its popularity in the area as many party faithful were already contemplating joining the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said that the intervention of the state governor was urgently needed to calm frayed nerves and bring the situation under control.
â€œI do not know why our leader would do this to us. He wants to make somebody who has no party card a local government chairman,â€ he said.
Anayochukwu said that they had met with the Deputy Senate President on the issue and he promised to look into the matter.
â€œWe want a primary election where the position will be contested and not an endorsement. We are ready to support whoever wins,â€ he said.
Another member of the protesting group, Mr. Chisom Kama said the PDP seemed not to have learnt from its past mistakes noting that they were constrained to raise their voices as the party in the state was once again towing a dishonest path.
â€œIn paragraph 1 (e) of our partyâ€™s guideline for the conduct of the 2017 local government election, it states that only registered financial members are allowed to contest. â€œWe are also aware that the man they picked is not a member of the party and he has neither applied for nor obtained waiver from our party as this is the only remedy to cure the deficiency,â€ he said.
Kama said that it had become necessary for the state governor to speak out against such undemocratic disposition.
â€œWe want the voice of the people to be heard. When we had similar problem in 2013, it was resolved by calling delegates and contestants for a free and fair contest.
â€œWe gathered at Okpara Square then to choose our candidate. We want the governor to adopt same method in resolving this impasse,â€ he said, adding that gone were the days when a single person would decide the fate of a people.
In a reaction, the Special Adviser to Ekweremadu on Political Matters, Dr. Godwin Udeuhele, said that his principal did not impose any candidate on his people. Udeuhele said that the said candidate emerged through a consensus, adding that Ekweremadu was simply playing his role as a father in Enugu West Senatorial Zone.
â€œEkweremadu is a democrat and cannot impose a candidate. He is playing the role he does in the entire zone,â€ he said.
The former commissioner for information said there were two contestants to the position but the favoured candidate emerged.