By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor
The Commissioner for Information in Enugu state in his reaction said it is absurd to substitute falsehood for truth.
“ It is simply absurd that we want to substitute falsehood for truth, all in a feeble attempt to garner undeserved sympathy and attention. I’ll clarify for the umpteenth time that Governor Sullivan Chime did not, at anytime, give automatic tickets to current occupants of the various seats.
At the last meeting attended by stakeholders from the 17 Local Government Councils, he made it explicitly clear that it is for the different constituencies to elect their representatives during the primaries. I want any of the people making the accusation to fault that this did not happen.
“In any case, how is the governor going to give his “preferred people” automatic tickets? Will he stop the PDP under Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo from conducting primary elections into the positions? Or is it the state government that conducts the polls?
Or will he, at gun point, coerce other people who had since picked their forms to dump their aspiration? The allegation is so naively impotent. Gov Chime is more preoccupied with governance at the moment. When the time comes, he will have to convince the delegates why he should be elected to fly the party’s governorship flag?
As I speak to you, we have about four commissioners and numerous other political appointees who picked forms to contest one seat or the other. They are smart and close enough to the Governor not to waste their time and other resources if they knew that their boss had given automatic tickets to those occupying the seats they eye.
Ugwoke refuted claims that Enugu exco is afraid of fresh PDP congress, describing it as laughable.
“It is laughable for anybody to voice such sterile comment. The National Working Committee of the party raised a team that met with Mr. President on the then purported dissolution of the state executive committee in Enugu among other issues.
It was the party in the state that went to court and obtained an injunction, not the state government. The governor is only the leader of the party in the state, not the chairman.
“Permit me, please, to digress a little. When the national chairman, Dr. Nwodo met with stakeholders of the party from Enugu State in Abuja few months ago, it was Chief Nnia Nwodo who asked his brother the true position of the status of PDP in the state in view of observations made by INEC.
After giving a little background, Dr. Nwodo concluded by saying that the report he met in office was clear that the proper and duly conducted congress was the one attended by the governor who is the leader of the party, the then outgoing state chairman of the party, the Deputy Senate President and eight of his colleagues, the Speaker and members of the State House of Assembly, other state government functionaries among other statutory delegates. This is verifiable. So, what has changed?”
On allegation that Governor Chime does not want to reach compromise with leaders, Ugwoke wonders what kind of compromise meant.
“What kind of accommodation or compromise do they want? And who are the leaders you are referring to? Surely, you cannot be talking of the majority of the National Assembly members from the state. Certainly not the House of Assembly members, and not the Local Government Council chairmen or the party chairmen or executives in the 17 councils.
I don’t believe you are also talking of some respected elders who are members of the party in our state. If any of them says he’s not being carried along, then let him add his name to the allegation and we can respond more constructively.
We’ve had two Local Government Council elections under Gov Chime. In the state-wide consultations that preceded the polls, most of these leaders were involved. Some had their preferences among the aspirants but at the end, it was the stakeholders from each Council who agreed on their distinct candidates who are today the chairmen. The governor merely moderated. Now, what do you do if a particular leader or stakeholder preferred a particular aspirant but the others thought otherwise? Would it have been right for the governor to insist on him having his way at the expense of the majority? Who do you blame if those who were invited did not turn up for the consultations?
“Again, if you talk of compromise, what is it that those who allege want? Is it to sit round a table and agree on those who should fly the party’s flag at the coming polls or to concede some seats or zone(s) to these leaders?
Will Governor Chime not be accused of worse crime if he treads this path? Truth is that His Excellency believes in freeing the political space for people to pursue their aspirations. That, I think, also tallies with the internal democracy which Dr. Nwodo has continued to preach since becoming the national chairman.”