2023:Controversy surrounds Ebonyi PDP factional gov candidate’s membership

The factional governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State, Chief Ifeanyi Odii (aka Anyichuks), was never a member of the party, a former Caretaker Committee Chairman of PDP in the state, Elder Fred Udeogu, has alleged.

This was as Udeogu, who is the Coordinator for Obinna Ogba Governorship Campaign Organisation, claimed that Odii does not have known, serious and genuine members of the party in his camp, adding that he parades pseudo followership.

The PDP chieftain stated during an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, in Abakaliki, on Monday.

He said, “I know that before the State Congress of the party in 2021, which I organised and which saw the emergence of Tochukwu Okorie as Chairman, it was a bit tough for the party. It was difficult because we spent sleepless nights ensuring that we put the PDP house in Ebonyi State in order. I would have still been the Chairman of the party if I was allowed to contest.

“But seeing that the chairmanship position of the party was zoned to the Southern District of the state, and the governorship slot zoned to the Abakaliki Bloc, I was advised to step down in the interest of the party. I withdrew. I then organized the congress and handed it over to Tochukwu Okorie.

“What actually brought the crises in the Ebonyi PDP was because some people were brought into the party and these people felt they have the financial muscle to bulldoze their ways through the party and get whatever they wanted and as a result, they decided to flout the zoning arrangement. Zoning is an ‘unconstitutional’ arrangement made in principle by the party’s leadership. And we have been operating on this principle for a long time, as a party.

“Then all of a sudden, one of our brothers, Ifeanyi Odii, a Lagos-based businessman, who was never Ab initio, a member of the PDP felt he could buy the party over. As Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the party in the state, I never saw him or met him in my office. He came in and started bulldozing his way and said Abakaliki Bloc does not have what it takes to be governor. He is not a PDP member.

“With his money, he bought over some of our boys and they started ‘clapping’ for him and ‘shouting’ his name everywhere because it’s he that carries the pound fronds that the goats follow. Check very well. There is no serious and known politician in Ebonyi State that is with him.”

But in a swift reaction, the Director of Media and Publicity, Anyichuks (Odii) Grassroots Organisation, Chief Abia Onyike, said Odii had been a member of the party since its inception.

He noted that idle minds in the party were merely unhappy because his boss came into the PDP and “placed himself properly”.

Onyike said, “In Nigeria, people just talk anyhow. What makes him an intruder? Just because the game is not in their favour, that’s why they talk anyhow, resort to name calling and all kinds of a campaign of calumny. As far as I know, Dr. Ifeanyichukwuma Odii, has been around the PDP right from inception. Nobody ever questioned his membership at any point in time.

“He indicated interest to run, went through the normal process of screening by a high-powered committee set up by the national body of the party to screen aspirants and he was screened and found worthy and was cleared to contest the election. So, nobody can talk about he’s being an intruder and these people, who are saying these things are those who have depended on him for their political activities.

“Odii has been one of the major financial supporters of PDP in Ebonyi State for the past ten years and there’s no doubt about it. Right from the regime of Chief Martin Elechi, he has been in PDP and even during the time of the incumbent Governor, Engr. David Umahi before he joined APC, Anyichuks was an active financial supporter of the party. And these people talking have benefitted in one way or the other from his financial big heart. Therefore, saying my boss is an intruder into the PDP, or a meddlesome interloper, is the height of insult.”

Recall that Odii was elected as the governorship candidate of the party in the state in a purported primary election held on May 28th and 29th, which was cancelled by the National Working Committee of the party.

However, in a rescheduled primary election which held on June 4th and 5th, 2022, Senator Obinna Ogba was declared the gubernatorial candidate, having pulled the highest number of votes cast