–We’re meeting in court, PDP chairman aspirant
–Emegha, Okorie emerged amidst tight contest
BY NWOGHA NDUBUISI ANDY
Reactions continued to trail in Ebonyi Saturday concluded state congress of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, when group known as Ohazirimba Renaissance Movement who claimed to be loyal to the Federal Minister for science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu rejected the election and described the gathering as jamboree.
This is equally, as the chairmanship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Barr. Silas Onu vowed to met at the court with the party for exchanging his mandate for personal interest.
However, Hon Stanley Okoro Emegha of the ruling All Progressives Congress and Mr
Toochukwu Okorie of Peoples’ Democratic Party were respectively elected as state Chairmen during the congresses.
According to Ohazirimba Renaissance Movement led by Chief Alex Okemini and Dr Haroun Ogbonnia Aja as the chairmanship aspirant of the Saturday All Progressives Congress, explained that the then caretaker chairman was never a register member of the party but used the instrument of the state Governor who imposed the candidate against the wish of the people.
He stated that for the intervention of Buni caretaker panel the state chapter had denied him of form but even while he succeeded, the screening committee that visited the state was bought over and were not allow to follow the party due process which is condemnable.
However, major force tearing the two dominant parties in the state as observed was the alleged 2023 presidential ambition by some personalities in the country including Ebonyi illustrious son.
Also, clashes of interests over the state chairmanship position of the major parties have become a contending issue tearing the members into factions.
Our correspondents who monitored the state congresses learnt that both APC and PDP families still have internal crises following the party members’ claims tagging the exercises held on Saturday as a jamboree and a parade of illegalities.
Ebonyi APC Family:
The APC camp of the Ebonyi Governor, Dave Umahi, held its congresses at Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium, Abakaliki, and elected Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha as the State Chairman by the Ideato C. Ideato led APC panel.
Whereas, a different APC camp allegedly spearheaded by the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu with another State Chairman, Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah, boasted that their group remained authentic leadership of the party disregarding the congress conducted by Ideato’s panel and its declaration.
Briefing newsmen, the APC Chieftain and the acclaimed authentic party Chairman, Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah, said that a lot of negativities against the planned Ebonyi State Congresses, made it not be held.
According to him, “As an incoming State Chairman of this great party, we suddenly learnt, there won’t be a congress because there have been impositions against the will of the APC faithfuls in Ebonyi State.”
“We were told that approaching the venue for the congress will cause us a lot of embarrassment, following the dangerous signals we received, and as the law abiding citizens, we don’t want to take laws into our own hands. We want to be peaceful.”
“We thought to conduct parallel congress because of the negative scenario but on the second thought, we know, there are several states including Kano, Osun, Edo, Jigawa, others not put in order yet, like our own state. We thought of holding parallel congress but we felt, irrespective of social classes, the ideologies, political camps in APC, we remain one indivisible family, that can peacefully tell the whole world about these negativities, because, the leadership of our party at the national level is very discipline, credible and always attentive to our complains,” Ajah said.”
He regretted that the new defectors to the APC, tried to hijack the party’s leadership in Ebonyi State, but in his words, the intervention by Buni led national Chairman made it impossible.
“We were told to wait for the screening committee to come but up till now, nothing was done. The screening supposed to hold on 3rd and 4th of October, 2021, but we didn’t see any of the electoral committee members. Nothing happened, no screening took place and we urge our members to remain peaceful to know how justice about this will be addressed by the relevant authorities. We believe it is not over, till it becomes over, because we are the right people to hold the party positions.
“In a natural justice, you cannot pass a judgement without hearing from the person. So, I remain the candidate, and the Chairman irrespective of the purported congress. His Execllency, the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu was not part and parcel of the purported Congress and on a good note, he was not properly communicated. Therefore, we reject the exercise as it’s a complete jamboree and a full show of illegalities,” he stated.
Also, in a press release by Ohaziri Mba Renaissance Movement, a campaign group of the State APC Chairmanship Aspirant, Alhaji Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah had allegedly declared that the ruling “All Progressives Congress, APC is on the road to destruction in Ebonyi State following its alleged irregularities during the congress.
The members of the group maintained in the release endorsed by their National Coordinator, Engr Chiemezuo Nwokedi, the National Secretary, Alhaji Mohammed Maina, and the Director General in Ebonyi State, Chief Alex Okemini, that there was no APC State Congress in Ebonyi as they recalled in their petition to the party national leadership on 22nd of September, 2021 concerning the activities of the state Caretaker Chairman, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha, who later emerged as the authentic Chairman of an alleged faction of the APC.
The group further alleged: “Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha was not a registered member of Apc before his appointment as a Caretaker Chairman but he is presently supreintending over his own election for the position of State Chairman of APC in Ebonyi State, which our candidate Alhaji DR Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah is a l
“We had told you earlier that part of their rigging plot was the facilitation of the reappointment of Chief Ideato C Ideato led congress committee who has been doing the hatchet job for them to conduct today’s state congress.
“Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha had vowed to use his position as caretaker chairman to prevent anyone from contesting against him and this he demonstrated by sending thugs to chase us away from the party secretariat when we went to purchase nomination form for our candidate.
“The committee sent from Abuja to sell forms in Ebonyi, went underground on the orders of Chief Emegha. Following the intervention of Gov Mai Mala Buni, we were able to secure our nomination form. As we are talking to you now, we do not know the whereabouts of the national congress committee sent to supervise the conduct of today’s state congress and we are declaring them wanted.
“All efforts made to reach them have prooved abortive. Chief Okoro Emegha had yesterday 15th of October, 2021 convened a meeting where he invited his fellow ex-members of the PDP, their family members and co-travellers where they purportedly reached a consensus to adpot him (Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha) as the sole candidate for the state chairmanship position and directed local government chairmen to hire people that will camouflage as party members and bring them into the stadium which is their venue for their purported congress for ratification of their decisions.
“These decisions were taken without the consultation of critical stakeholders like DR Ogbonnia Onu who is a founding father of APC having been a national chairman of one of the merger parties and led the merger talks during the formation of APC but presently the Minister representing Ebonyi State at the federal executive council.
“The actions of Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha who is an appointee of Gov Umahi and presently supreintending over the conduct of the state congress which he happens to be a contestant. His actions led to the conduct of parallel congresses at ward and local govt congresses by stakeholders. Our canidate Alhaji DR Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah and his supporters have been recieving death threats from these people because of our resolve to fight for justice. We want to tell the whole world to hold Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha responsible should anything happen to our candidate or his supporters.
“The imposition of unpopular people on our party is being fueled by the 2023 presidential ambition of those who joined us recently and this has thrown the party into crisis and confusion which if not urgently arrested will lead to the destruction of the party.
“We, therefore, advise our numerous supporters to remain law abiding and steadfast to the ideals of the party as the national leadership of the party under Gov Mai Mala Buni looks into our petition.”
Recall that the Governor of the State, Dave Umahi on Friday ordered for the arrest of one Mr Kenneth Nwakparata for prosecution over his alleged pronouncement to hold an APC faction congress in the state during the party’s critical stakeholders’ meeting at the Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki.
Still, the immediate past state Chairman of APC and the Commissioner for Market and Park Development, Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze in his speech during the state congress at the Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium Abakaliki said the Saturday’s Congresses would end all forms of party factions.
While Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha in his acceptance speech after being declared winner of the state congress as the Chairman, pledged to carry all the party members along.
He assured of APC victory at the polls come 2023 general elections, and urged all the party members especially the contenders to close ranks to work for the progress of the party.
But later on the same Saturday, Alhaji Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah was also reporteedly elected as the Chairman of the APC in Ebonyi State following the factional State Congress held at Brifina Hotels Abakaliki.
We learnt that the congress was observed by INEC officials where the National Vice President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Okemini emerged as Secretary and Chief Joseph Aja Nwofoke was elected as the Publicity Secretary, among others.
It was gathered that Alhaji Ajah defeated his alleged closest rival Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha who got 3 votes against DR Ajah’s 1200 votes.
Also Ajah during his acceptance speech, promised to sanitize the APC and return power back to the grassroots.
Ebonyi PDP Family
The PDP family conducted its State Congresses at the People’s Club, Abakaliki, and elected Prince Tochukwu Okorie as the Chairman. Sen Ben Collins led panel conducted the PDP’s state congresses.
But the faction members of the party insisted that there was no state congresses on Saturday in Ebonyi, describing the whole exercise as a parade of illegalities.
Barr Silas Joseph Onu, the PDP Chieftain, who was the State Chairmanship Aspirant of the party, said, “there was no PDP congress in Ebonyi.”
He explained that several meetings were held, including those accredited to vote during the congresses being noted before the exercise began.
But Onu expressed shock on how the electoral committe was hijacked by some of the party cabals to the discredit of his candidacy and supporters.
He said, “Though this an elective congress, there supposed to be a series of discussion and meetings. We know the total number of people who will vote. There were delegates, because it was not all comers’ affair.
“But to my greatest shock the electoral committe, came to the venue as at 1pm, asked everybody to go out, so that they can start accreditation, and the Chairman caretaker committe – Fred Udeogu was sharing tags to people, giving tags to the people who are not delegates and he was not a member of electoral committe. I complained to Senator Ben Collins led committe because the truth remains, no election held yet, no accreditation, and I could see that even the ballot papers were already casted. That is why they stayed long in Enugu casting votes and they just came to fulfill the righteousness.
“I must say out of respect, for the good people of Ebonyi State who are yarning for change, I decided that we should go through this process that those who become our leaders are worse than the dictators.
“I came out to run this election as a free citizen, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party. My ambition should not be tied to anybody’s ambition. My greatest challenge was Senator Pius Anyim who claimed that I’m Atiku Abubakar’s boy. And Atiku Abubakar is running for president and he (Senator Pius Anyim) is also running for president and for that reason, he decided to frustrate me.
“Going by its legitimate processes, everything done was against the guidelines for this election. Ali Odefa who supposed to be the zonal leader of the party joined the parade of illegalities. His elder brother who is the Deputy Speaker in the State House of Assembly, a member of APC was calling PDP member last night to support a candidate of our party. Is he a member of PDP? How can he be in APC and calling people in PDP, telling them the candidate to vote for. Who is Pius Anyim working for? Who is Ali Odefa working for? Who are these people working for including Linus Okorie? Is this because of EFCC investigating Senator Pius Anyim, he wants to stand on this ground to kill PDP in Ebonyi State. Is that the condition they gave him to deliver Senator Bola Tinubu? Atiku Abubakar is a bonafide citizen, supporting him is not a crime, and I’m proud to be his supporter because he is only the person qualified for it,” he stated.
He maintained that the Congress was not held because “it was a hatched man job” and further expressed readiness to welcome the alleged perpetrators as his guests if they wanted to allegedly kill PDP in the state.
“There was no election. It’s not an allegation if you were in the field. You will see that ballot papers were given to anybody they wanted, the ballot papers which had been casted votes already. I’m the only candidate who bought form, submitted it on the 14th of September 2021 and the deadline for the submission of the form was on the 1st of October. It was on the screening date that all the candidates including the Tochukwu Okorie they are parading was filling his free form.
“And if they feel that they are the owners of the party, and they succeed, we have the court room to ventilate the grievances. I will quickly challenge these illegalities up to the highest level. If they don’t want PDP to operate in Ebonyi State we will all be grounded until the right thing will be done,” he added.
Corraborating with Onu, the former Ebonyi Commissioner for Information and State Orientation who was one time Federal Lawmaker, Senator Emmanuel Onwe expressed worry over the outcome of the state congress.
“I’m sorry to say that the frying pan to fire in PDP in Ebonyi State, has continued. I’m optimistic that the anti-democratic sources will be defeated. What happened today in our congress was disgrace to the democracy but will be ratified because the forces of democracy now are much more determined than ever before. It is only hooligans think that consensus candidate is the ultimate will in the democracy but I’m assure of their disappointment.”
Earlier in an interview with journalists at the venue of the congress, Elder Fred Udeogu who was the PDP’s State Caretaker Chairman, assured of a peaceful and hitch free exercise.
He commended the large turnout of the party members including the various leaders both at national and state levels, who honoured the congress, while expressing the party’s readiness to take over the leadership of the state come 2023 polls.
Also, in his acceptance speech, Prince Tochukwu Okorie who was declared winner of the state PDP Chairmanship position during the Congress, appreciated his members and pledged to make them proud throughout his leadership.
Meanwhile, some residents of the state who interacted with newsmen in order of anonymity had applauded the peaceful atmosphere witnessed in Abakaliki during the congresses despite the alleged security threats coming from different quarters and the rising cases emanating from the clashes of interests among the party faithfuls especia
lly the political bigwigs following their ambitions against the 2023, the electioneering year