By Tony EDIKE, Enugu
SOME political Â Â Â pressure groups in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Enugu State have continued to protest the decision of the party to bar fresh aspirants from contesting against federal and state legislators from the state, most of who have served between eight and 12 years in office.
The state caucus of the PDP led by Governor Sullivan Chime had reportedly resolved to give automatic ticket of the party to serving members of the state assembly and the National Assembly to seek fresh mandates in 2011 in appreciation of their loyalty to the government and went ahead to direct fresh aspirants to withhold their ambition for now.
Sunday Vanguard learnt the development is generating ripples among members of the state PDP especially those eyeing various elective positions which the party ought to have zoned to their areas at the expiration of the tenure of those occupying those positions since the past eight years.
The protesting groups within the party have, however, vowed to reject the partyâ€™s decision which they described as undemocratic and capable of eroding the overwhelming support which the party had enjoyed in the state since 1999.
Some youth organizations from Umunano, Ozzi and Udenu communities who staged a peaceful protest rejecting the partyâ€™s decision, at the weekend, said they were not ready to abide by the partyâ€™s decision asking fresh aspirants to wait until 2015 simply because they wanted those occupying the various positions to continue.
The youths lamented that a similar decision was taken by the PDP leaders last year in respect of the local government election, when fresh chairmanship and councillorship aspirants were barred from contesting, as the incumbents were given automatic second term ticket.
â€œWe kept quiet then because we believed that we should be loyal to the party but this time around we cannot fold our hands and allow this undemocratic move to succeed,â€ a member of one of the groups, Jonathan Ossai, said during the protest at Enugu-Ezike, Igbo-Eze North Local government headquarters.
TheÂ Â youths carriedÂ Â placards which read, â€œ NoÂ to third-term for non-performing legislators,â€ â€œNo to fourth term in officeâ€, â€œObey rotation arrangements,â€ â€œPDP, provide level playing ground for aspirants in 2011″, â€œensure internal democracy in PDPâ€Â and,Â â€œWe wonâ€™tÂ support candidatesÂ Â sheepishlyâ€ .
Some of theÂ Â youths who had â€œNo to third-termâ€ embossed on their vests or T-shirts were manhandledÂ Â by political thugs believed to be loyal to some ofÂ theÂ incumbent legislators but they vowed to continue with their protest until the party leaders rescind their decision, which they viewed as â€œkilling internal democracy in PDPâ€.
The state chairman of the party, Mr Vita Abba could not be reached for comments on the developmentÂ but sources, said the party leaders were already aware of various protests from party members across the state over the decision to return members of the state and National Assembly for another term.