By Uzoh Ugwueze, Enugu
Orient Weekend reports that the party seemed to be overcoming its simmering internal wranglings until a court judgement earlier in the week which sacked Senator Ayogu Eze as its guber candidate in the state.
The judgement came same day the party had scheduled for the inauguration of its campaign council. Our correspondent reports that, though the event went on as scheduled later in the day, key members of the party were absent.
Notable among members who did not attend the inauguration were a former governor of the state, Barr. Sullivan Chime, who is the chairman of the campaign council, the state chairman of the party, Barr. Ben Nwoye, former senate president, Chief Ken Nnamani, a major financier of the party, Emperor Baewood Ibe, senatorial candidates of the party, among others.
The party has not known peace since its crisis-ridden congress conducted in May 2018, during which parallel state working committees emerged. It was not a different scenario during primary elections as each of the factions also paraded their own candidates.
However, Barr. Ben Nwoye remained in charge having been recognised by the national working committee of the party. Same applied to Senator Eze, who emerged as a guber candidate from the same faction. But the latest judgement has now altered all the political calculations in the party, at least for now, though it has nothing to do with the party leadership in the State.
The Abuja Federal High Court, presided over by Hon. Justice I. Ekwo, had in its judgement, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognise Barr. George Ogara as the candidate.
Ogara belongs to the faction of the party led by Deacon Okey Ogbodo. The faction also has the blessings of the foreign affairs minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama.
For Ogbodo, “the judgement is a good development. I have always believed and trusted in the judiciary. I believe in our justice system and I know that the truth will always come out. “The only person that actually contested was George Ogara, while the other people went to hotel and wrote names. Thank God the truth has finally come out,” he said.
Ayogu thinks otherwise.
The judgement, in the senator’s own words could not have come without compromise by the judge.
Speaking while inaugurating his campaign council in Enugu, the senator said the judge had no conscience and had no fear about the future. He described the judgement as “kabukabu” and an atrocity.
While telling his supporters that he was certain the judgement would be upturned, he said “the have been battling us from the time of conception, the time of birth, the time of crawling, the time of walking and the time of running.
He had earlier through Mr. Okey Ezirigwe, spokesman of his campaign organisation, described the judgment as “a reckless adventure from the bench, an adventure we know will be discharged in due course. “Our lawyers have assured us that all necessary legal steps are being taken to discharge this obvious miscarriage of justice within the next couple of days.
“We urge our party faithful and supporters from across the parties and strata of the society to remain calm and resolute while our lawyers are dealing with this minor distraction and irritation.”
He added that “we are humbled by the overwhelming outpouring of solidarity from our large supporters and ever-growing support base, not only from every corner of our dear Enugu but from beyond and appreciate their calling our attention to a curious Abuja court order which, as the saying goes, is really of no issue at all.
Reacting, through the director of communications, PDP campaign organisation in Enugu state, Chief. Nana Ogbodo, the party said the confusion in the APC in the state and had affected every aspect of their existence. He said, “Well, it doesn’t really matter to us who amongst the duo of Ayogu Eze and Tagbo Ogara becomes the gubernatorial candidate of APC in the state.
“You well know that this election had long been won by His Excellency, Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, given the groundswell of approval, support and appreciation of his transformative leadership in the state over the last three and half years.
“The court judgment only goes to underscore my long-held view about the palpable confusion in the party in the state and has affected every aspect of their existence including campaigning. It’s been difficult to rightly identify the proper leadership of the party in the state, including who the Chairman is or who the gubernatorial candidate is.
“As I did say, the party in the state is made up of emergency godfathers that are perpetually at war with each other.”