By Henry Umoru & Enyim Enyim
ABUJA â€” ONE of the aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party gubernatorial aspirants in Anambra State, Chief Chuma Nwafor, has written to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, asking it to disregard Prof Chukwuma Soludo as the partyâ€™s candidate.
Nwaforâ€™s letter to INEC came on the heels of efforts by Soludoâ€™s camp to initiate reconciliation with the aggrieved aspirants.
In a protest letter to the INEC Chairman which was made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, Chief Nwafor, who described the adoption of Soludo by his party as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional, stressed that the action was an infringement on his rights and that of other members of the party in the state.
According to him, â€œthe purported delegatesâ€™ meeting held in Abuja on the 9th of October, 2009 and all resolutions, election, selection or anything whatsoever from it are null and void and no effect whatsoeverâ€.
Part of the letter reads, â€œI am a card-carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and an aspirant in the primary election for the 2010 Gubernatorial Election in Anambra State, supposedly held on the 9th of October, 2009, at the Yarâ€™ Adua Centre in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
â€œIt is important to point out at the beginning that aspirants were rail-roaded to Abuja against their will and most of us who went to Abuja wanted to see for ourselves whether the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would actually act contrary to the Order of the Ekwulobia High Court of Justice in Anambra State presided over by Hon. Justice Nwankwo as well as the Partyâ€™s Constitution and the 2010 Electoral Guidelines published by the Party for the Primary election.
â€œThe alleged primary election in Abuja that produced Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo as the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2010 Anambra State Gubernatorial Election was a complete sham for the following reasons: â€œThat after the statutory delegates and aspirants assembled at the Yarâ€™Adua Centre, Abuja on the 9th October, 2009, at about noon, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, in his opening remarks sensitised the delegates on the need to act timely in order to beat INEC deadline.
â€œThe delegates and aspirants present were not equivocal in their rejection of the idea of electing there and then, the Partyâ€™s gubernatorial candidate for the 2010 Governorship Election in Anambra State, at which point the Partyâ€™s Chairman, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor and other National Working Committee members excused themselves to deliberate and revert to the delegates and aspirants only to announce to the media and the general public (where I and other aspirants got his information) that Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo had been elected as the candidate of the party for the Anambra State 2010 Gubernatorial Election.â€
Soludo makes reconciliatory move
However, Director-General of the Soludo campaign organisation and former Speaker of the House of Representative, Chief Agunwa Anaekwe, dropped the hint of reconciliation yesterday with aggrieved aspirants while addressing reporters on the processes that led to the emergence of Soludo.
Anaekwe said the candidate and the campaign organisation needed to quickly extend the hand of fellowship to all aggrieved members of the party because they cannot fight the political battle ahead alone.
â€œAll we are asking is for our aggrieved brothers to know that PDP is one family and whatever problem we have should be resolved in-house. I want to extend our hand of fellowship to all aspirants, all party men and women. The PDP has a duty now to produce a governor who would be acceptable by the people of this stateâ€,he said.
He added, â€œOur focus now is to see Soludo elected on February 6, 2010. We want to enthrone merit, we want to stop violence and we want to move this state higher to the envy of other states of the federationâ€.
Anaekwe conceded that the anger being expressed by some aspirants who contested with Soludo was normal but appealed to them to see Soludoâ€™s emergence as a plus for the PDP and rally round him to achieve victory in the forthcoming governorship poll.
According to him, the national leadership of the PDP had to invoke Article 17(1) of the partyâ€™s constitution to save an ugly situation that would have given room for other political parties to have a field day should PDP fail to pick and submit the name of a candidate for the election on the last day of submission given by INEC.
So far, the campaign director said, 36 governorship aspirants, all members of Board of Trustees, two senators and nine members of the House of Representatives from Anambra state have endorsed Soludoâ€™s candidature.
Reacting to a newspaper publication that a federal high court in Awka had restrained Soludo from parading himself as the flagbearer of the PDP, Anaekwe said there was no such order, saying that there was an Application for an order of injunction which was however adjourned for hearing on October 19.
PPA inaugurates 5 C’ttees
Meanwhile, the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, has set up five committees charged with the responsibility of proper mobilisation for the party ahead of the governorship election come 2010.
The five committees comprise contact and mobilization; media and publicity; finance; disciplinary; security and intelligence.
Inaugurating the committees, the state chairman of the party, Chief Anthony Igboka, said the essence was to make sure that every party member was carried along in the scheme of things.
Importantly, he said the activities of the committees would go a long way to enhance the electoral fortunes of PPA in the state.
Members of the committees are Chief Emmanuel C. Odiegwu; Okey Araonu, J.C Igbokwe, Innocent Agudiegwu, Ifeatu Nwokedi, Ossy Afulukwe, Felix Obiora Okeke, Cosmas Anyichie, George Obidiaso, Steven Mbieli, Big Ben, Maduka Anusi, Onwubualil Boniface, Obidigbo Kanayochukwu, Henry Okwuchukwu Obi and Anakwenze.
Others are James Nwokike, Nonye Okolue, Okey Ukeje, Pius Ezeoke, Capt. Ikoku, Anthony Muoneke, Martin Okafor, Martin Okeke, Mikky Izuora, P.O.C Ebubedike and Nkoli Okoli.