By Tony Edike
The Governor Sullivan Chime’s faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Enugu State, yesterday, disowned the governorship aspirant of the Labour Party in 2007 election, Chief Okey Ezea, saying he was not a member of the PDP and had no right to speak on issues concerning the party.
Chairman of the dissolved state executive committee of PDP loyal to Governor Chime, Engr. Vita Abba, said in a statement issued in Enugu that even though the party had thrown its doors open to prospective new members and others willing to return to its fold, Ezea was not a registered member of the party at Itchi Uwani Ward 1 in Igbo Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State where he hails from or in any other ward within the state.
But in a swift reaction to the disclaimer yesterday, Ezea, who is now a governorship aspirant of the PDP, dismissed Abba’s action as that of a “drowning man”, insisting that he remained a full-fledged member of the party and had remained a loyal member “much more stronger than Vita Abba and Sullivan Chime combined.”
The embattled state party chairman, Engr. Abba, in the statement circulated to newsmen, said: “The attention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Enugu State chapter, has been drawn to the persistent falsehood and claims in the national dailies by one Mr. Okey Ezea to be a member of our party in Enugu State.
“In the said publications, Mr. Okey Ezea, in a bid to seek cheap popularity through blackmail and other mischievous means, has been dabbling into the issues concerning PDP as a “chieftain” of the party. ordinarily, the state chapter of the party would have wished not to join issues with Ezea, knowing fully well his antecedents but we are constrained to put the records straight in order to correct the erroneous impression that the said Ezea is a PDP member.
“As much as our party desires to accommodate prospective new members and others willing to rejoin, we want to make it categorically clear that the said Okey Ezea is not a registered member of the PDP in Itchi Uwani Ward 1 in Igbo Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State where he hails from or in any other ward within the state. This, by implication, means that he is not a member of PDP in Enugu State till date.”
Abba stated that the state leadership of PDP had in a move to open doors for new entrants and lure its aggrieved members who left the party for other political parties during the past PDP administration back to its fold, obtained an expressed approval from the National Working Committee of the party in 2009 for the immediate commencement of arty re-registration in the state, in the spirit of reconciliation and all inclusiveness.
“This exercise was given adequate publicity, both in the print and electronic media requesting all interested persons who wanted to join or rejoin the PDP in the State to go and register with the Party at their various Wards. The registration exercise was peaceful, transparent and lasted till the end of October 2010. We were surprised to observe that though Ezea did not deem it necessary to take advantage of the opportunity, he falsely, today, refers to himself as a member of our Party,” he added.
Continuing, the embattled PDP Chairman said it was curious that the man who claims to be a member of the party has his posters for the Governorship position of Enugu State in all nooks and corners of the State without the logo of the PDP on them, asserting that this was a “confirmation of sort that Ezea is not a member of the PDP in Enugu State.”
Abba therefore called on the PDP members, officials, supporters and the general public to note that Chief Ezea is not a member of the party in Enugu State as he claims and advised all concerned to desist from relating with him as a PDP member.
However, the PDP governorship aspirant, Chief Ezea while reacting to Abba’s statement said that even though he contested the 2007 governorship election under the platform of Labour Party, he had since returned to one of the factions of PDP in the state.
He said: “It is true I contested 2007 Governorship election under the platform of Labour Party but since the aborted congress of PDP in 2008, I have belonged to a faction of the party different from Vita’s faction because there are two factions of PDP in Enugu State, and my faction is the recognized faction which participated in 2008 National Convention of the PDP.
“Vita Abba lacks moral and legal right to comment on my membership of the party. So the best is that he should be ignored. But the pertinent question is in what capacity is Vita Abba raising objection to my membership of PDP? Is Vita Abba still chairman of the dissolved State Executive Committee of the party in Enugu State? My best reaction is to ignore Vita and his cohorts. His action is that of a drowning man.”