No S’East Gov Defecting Again, Says PDP

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•Orders members in Anambra to withdraw suits against party
•Warns of looming anarchy in Ebonyi

Chuks Okocha in Abuja and David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday dismissed speculation that it is about to lose another governor from the South-east to another party.

The National Vice Chairman of the party in the zone, Chief Ali Odefa, during a stakeholders’ meeting of the party in Awka, said there was no cause for concern over the strength of the party in the South-east.

Odefa spoke against the backdrop of last year’s defection of Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Dave Umahi, to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is as the Ebonyi State chapter of the party yesterday raised the alarm over threats to democracy in the state, describing as an invitation to anarchy and a possible breakdown of law and order in the state, a directive by the state government for parties to seek permission of local government chairmen before holding political meetings.

Giving a report on the state of the party in the zone, Odefa said: “Anambra is fully a PDP state. With two senators and six House of Representatives members from the state, you will know that Anambra is PDP.

“Enugu is PDP, Abia is fully PDP too. You may have heard one rumour or the other, that a governor from the zone is planning to leave, but it is not true. No governor is leaving PDP. We all know what happened in Ebonyi and we are happy that the governor there left. We are not feeling any void at all; the state still remains a PDP state.”

Odafe urged PDP members in the state who had filed suits against the party to immediately withdraw them.
He said the aim was to ensure that the party went into the forthcoming 2021 governorship election in Anambra State as a united house.

“We are calling on all of you here and the ones that are not here to go and withdraw all your cases in court and let’s come home and resolve whatever differences we have. We may not all agree with ourselves, but because of the interest of the party, we must ensure that we work together.

“I am happy with the level of maturity among the contestants. We will bring people to learn from what you are doing here. Save for misunderstanding, no state is more PDP than Anambra. A pioneer founder is from here, and I know that PDP will get to the Government House again.

“If we work hard, we will be in the Government House next year. I am very confident about this. It is simple. We want to bring transparency in the primary election processes. The process must be free and fair. We know that if the process is transparent, contestants will not work against the party during the election.

“The world knows that Anambra people are rich; but at this level, the money is not the attraction. The attraction is beating my chest and saying that PDP has a governor in Anambra. Please do not give us money to influence the primary election for yourselves.

“We are not delegates here, and our members don’t have votes here, and so we can not help you. We rather urge you to spend your money wisely. If you give money to anyone, in Abuja or Aso Rock to influence the primary election for yourself, it is a dash,” he added.

He called on the aspirants to channel their resources to wooing delegates in the state as they are the ones that will elect a candidate for the party in the forthcoming election.
“Everyone of you is fit and capable of governing Anambra. I know Anambra well. I have conducted elections here, and most of you are my friends, but for now, I renounce my friendship with you. I get a lot of messages from you (aspirants), but let me tell you that the delegates will help you more than I will.

“I am happy with the level of maturity among the contestants. We will bring people to come and learn from what you are doing here,” he stated.
Former vice presidential candidate of the party in the 2019 general election, Mr. Peter Obi, charged the aspirants to go into the field and convince the electorate, instead of fighting among themselves.

“None of you aspirants is contesting election against each other, the man you are contesting against is Willie Obiano. You must do all to go out and canvass for votes,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi State chapter of the party has again raised the alarm over threats to democratic practice in the state.
It condemned a directive by the state government that parties must seek permission of local government chairmen in their areas before joining political meetings.

It, therefore, alerted security agencies and the international community over the repressive policies of the state government.
In a statement given to newsmen in Abuja, the state Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Mr. Silas Joseph Onus, said an order had been given to all local government chairmen in the state to seize the official vehicles of PDP chairmen in local governments where such party leaders have refused to defect with the governor.

“This is a call to anarchy as these buses are not the property of Ebonyi State Government and cannot be treated as such. To attempt to forcibly confiscate the property of a political party is the highest show of political intolerance and a demonstration of lack of regard for democracy,” it stated.

The party condemned what it described as “this call to anarchy and outright invitation for crisis. It is enough that our state secretariat has been unlawfully sealed.”
Onu added that the government has also directed that political parties in Ebonyi State must seek permission from local government chairmen before holding their political meetings.

“This is unimaginable; it is unbelievable that it is happening in a democratic nation. Is this political censoring? Since when has part of Nigeria become under a military or dictatorial rule? This is a clear sign of failure of democratic governance.

“We call on the governor to desist from planting the seed of destroying democracy in Nigeria or any part thereof. No political party requires the permission of any other political party in order to hold their political meetings. We know that this directive is targeted at the PDP meeting scheduled to hold in Edda and we are not deterred by this clear act of intimidation,”, the party said.

The party condemned the use of official security details to intimidate perceived political opponents and urged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to call all policemen in the governor’s security team to order.