How parallel PDP primaries produced two ‘Heavy Weight’ candidates in Ebonyi

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PDP logo (file photo)

By Mkpuma Enyinna, Abakaliki

The journey to Ebonyi State seat of power has been full of ups and downs as many candidates from different Senatorial zones of the state justle to clinch the PDP gubernatorial ticket ahead of 2023 general elections.

Initially, some political pundits argued that since the governorship position started from Ebonyi North Senatorial zone, and has moved round the three zones, it is better to start from Ebonyi North again, while others are of the opinion that it can start from any anywhere since it has gone round the three major zones in the state.

It was because of the inability of stakeholders of the party and traditional rulers in the state to agree and harmonize the candidates vying for the elective positions that led to the heavy crisis rocking the party which has succeeded in producing two heavy weight candidates through the parallel primaries witnessed in recent times.

Before the two primaries, there was alot of litigations in various level courts against the chairman and candidates of the party which made the position of the party chairman unstable for many months as the first chairman, Hon. Tochukwu Okorie, was removed and was replaced immediately by Barrister Silas Onu; but Onu  could not stand a test of time as he was also removed by the court after conducting the primaries that produced the business mogul from Ebonyi South Senatorial zone, Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii, as their factional guber candidate.

Just before the first primaries, the National Working Committee of the party had cancelled all the scheduled primaries of 28th and 29th May 2022  across the state but the Onu led faction still went ahead to conduct it where Chukwuma Odii emerged as the guber flagbearer.

Having seen the handwriting on the wall, all they candidates produced under the Silas Onu-led faction, on 2nd June, 2022  raised alarm over National Working Committee (NWC) plan to quash the primary election  earlier conducted by the party on 28th and 29th May, 2022 on the grounds that they did not follow party guidelines and  that the electoral committee members did not form quorum.

As a result of this, while addressing newsmen in Abakaliki recently,the affected candidates called on the national leadership of the party to stop such plans as all the candidates were duly elected.

The candidates  expressed displeasure over the imminent plans to quash the earlier Primaries conducted on 28th and 29th, 2022, stating that due process was followed during the Primaries and don’t see any reason it should be cancelled.

According to the leader of the group, the former member representing Ikwo/Ezza South Federal Constituency, Hon. Lazarus Nweru Ogbe, said the National Working Committee scheduled primary elections in Ebonyi State on 28th and 29th May, 2022  was conducted peacefully in line with the party guidelines in 171 wards of the state, but unfortunately, they started hearing rumours that the same National Working Committee has reversed the earlier decision and  rescheduled another primaries on the same position and nomination.

The group therefore, called on the national leadership of the party to desist from such action to avoid plunging the party into crisis and scuttling their chances of winning elections in 2023 by avoiding the same scenario that occurred in Zamfara and Rivers State; where both parties lost out completely.

The group insisted that the primary elections conducted by its own faction must stand since the group obeyed all the electoral guidelines of the party.

In the same vein, after the restoration of Hon.Tochukwu Okorie as the substantive chairman of the party on May 31, 2022,t he National Working Committee rescheduled the primary election again which took place on June 4 and 5, 2022, where the incumbent Senator representing Ebonyi Central Senatorial zone, Sen. Obinna Ogba was declared winner of the second guber primaries where he polled a total of 253 votes to defeat his closest rival, Hon. Anayo Edwin Nwonu, who polled 110 votes.

Also, some political analysts alleged that the crisis rocking the party was still lingering as a result of interest and  division among the NWC members who had been visited with heavy “Ghana must-go” bags by some candidates, which made it difficult for them to take decision and harmonize the party to avoid further crisis.

Meanwhile, since both factions of the party have concluded their primaries, it is obvious that the battle has been shifted to the national leadership of the party to determine the authentic flagbearer of PDP in Ebonyi State as well as court final judgement on the cases filed by aggrieved candidates.

 

valoa2000@yahoo.com

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