* Party inaugurates caretaker committee for the state
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Ebonyi State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) elders led by former Minister and Nigeria Ambassador to Greece, Frank Ogbuewe, at the inauguration of the state PDP Caretaker Committee yesterday, declared that the state Governor, Dave Umahi, defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was a unilateral decision, adding that it was without consultations.
It was supposed to be the inauguration of the Ebonyi State PDP Caretaker Committee, but it eventually turned out to be a gathering of who-is-who in the party in the state.
Other elders at the inauguration included the former state Governor, Senator Sam Egwu; former Chairman of PDP in the state, Senator Obinna Ogba; former INEC National Commissioner, Lawrence Nwuruku; former Senate President, Pius Anyim; Senator Azu Agboti, former Deputy National Secretary of PDP, Sam Onwe; Senator Sylvanous Ngele, Senator Ama Nnachi among others.
They all took time to speak on the fate of the PDP in Ebonyi State, insisting that the defection of Umahi to the APC will give the PDP an opportunity to rebuild the party. They claimed that the PDP in the state witnessed stunted growth.
They also claim that Umahi was made governor on the platform of PDP by all the members that were seated at the inauguration.
According to Ogbuewe, who is a former Minister of Culture, “We the founding fathers, elders, major stakeholders and leaders of the PDP in Ebonyi State, who have, from inception to date, piloted the affairs of the party to all electoral victories across all levels, including that of the incumbent governor, wish to state categorically that it is now common knowledge that Umahi has formally defected APC which officially took place on November 19, 2020, on the purported reason of the inability or unwillingness of PDP to zone the presidency to South-east for the 2023 elections.
“We affirm our belief that it is the turn of South-east region to produce the next president of Nigeria. We, however, note that at no time has the South-east zone of the PDP met to discuss or resolve on the strategies to actualise the zoning of the presidency to the region in 2023.
“We affirm our resolve to obey and honour any decision or resolution reached by the South-east PDP on how to actualise the zoning of the presidency to the region in 2023.
“We note the explanation of the party that the issue of zoning is not yet at the table for consideration, and that in due time, it will be treated in line with the party rules and guidelines.”
“We wish to thank the various national organs of the party for their swift response in dissolving the party structure in Ebonyi State and setting up the caretaker committee.
“We affirm our total support and solidarity for the caretaker committee.
“We empathise that we respect the right of our governor to determine his political direction, but we also wish that he respects the rights of others to freely enjoy their rights to belong to any party of their choice.”
Also speaking, Senator Azu Agboti, former acting national secretary of PDP, said: “Ebonyi is a PDP state. Without us, there would have not been Umahi. Ebonyi will rise and Ebonyi will remain PDP.”
Sam Onwe, former deputy national secretary of PDP, commended the National Working Committee (NWC) for appointing the best hands and for their quick interventions in setting up the Caretaker Committee, stating that: “We will deliver PDP in 2023.”
In his comment, Senator Suleiman Nazif deputy national chairman, who represented the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, alleged that Umahi would live to regret his decision to defect to the APC, explaining that the governor was deceived into joining the APC.
However, he charged the newly Caretaker Committee to unite the party in the state.
The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee is Hon. Fred Udeogu.
Meanwhile, the PDP NWC has appointed Chief Ali Odefa as the chairman of the reconstituted South-east Zonal Caretaker Committee of the party.
Odega replaced the younger brother of Umahi, Austin, who was the chairman of the PDP in the South-east region.
The NWC also named Hon. Laz Ogbei as the auditor of the zonal Caretaker Committee of the party.
The party spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the action of the NWC is pursuant to Sections 29 (2)(b) and 31(2)(e) of the PDP Constitution (2017 as amended).
He said the reconstituted South-east Zonal Caretaker Committee is to pilot the affairs of the party in the zone for a period not exceeding three months (90 days) as prescribed by section 32(2)(e) of the PDP Constitution.