BY VINCENT UJUMADU
The Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has for more than ten years been enmeshed in multiple crises that threw up many factions. A move towards solution runs into a crisis of its own.
The group calling itself Anambra State Fresh Congress Group of PDP, had sent out invitations for a grand rally in Awka on December 8, 2012.
Political observers had thought that the rally was to ratify the officials that emerged, and also, candidates that had been in waiting for the local government election since 2002 when the tenure of the local government officials elected in 1998 expired.
However, when a day to the rally one of the factional chairmen of the state chapter of the party, Prince Kenneth Emeakayi was sighted at the Federal High Court, Awka with his lawyer obtaining an injunction to stop the rally, it became clear that PDP was at it again.
The Federal High Court presided over by Justice M.T. Salihu granted the order of interim injunction restraining leaders of the Fresh Congress group from holding the rally pending the determination of the motion on notice for an order of mandamus brought by the Anambra State chairman of the party, Prince Emeakayi.
Emeakayi had filed the suit against the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Anambra State Commissioner of Police, as well as Pastor Emma Obiora, Mr. Maurice Anolue and Mr. Chris Uche Okoye, respectively who claimed to be the chairman, secretary and chairman of the planning committee of Anambra State Fresh Congress Group of PDP, urging the court to stop the rally scheduled to take place at Emmaus House in Awka.
Emeakayi also urged the court to ensure compliance with the judgment of the court in suit No:A/171/2011 which defined the leadership of PDP in the state to avoid any breakdown of law and order in Anambra State.
Following the court order, security operatives were deployed as early as 6.00 am on the proposed day of the rally at the Emmaus House and prevented people from entering the place.
The Fresh Congress group had made elaborate arrangement for the rally and sent buses to all the 326 wards in the state to convey members to Awka for the event and booked hotel accommodation for all the expected guests and stakeholders.
Early arrivals to the rally were turned back by policemen who also ensured that vehicles were not parked around the vicinity. Most of the PDP stalwarts who were to fly into Awka for the event from Bayelsa State where they attended the burial of the younger brother of President Gooluck Jonathan, had to return to Abuja when information reached them that the court had stopped the rally.
Before the botched rally, the Emeakayi’s group had conducted congresses at the state, ward and local government levels supervised by security operatives and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, during which he, Emeakayi, was returned as the state chairman of the party.
Going down memory lane during his inauguration in Awka, Emeakayi recalled that his emergence as the state chairman followed the resignation of the former chairman, Chief Emma Nweze who was elected in July 2010, with him (Emeakayi) as the vice chairman for Anambra south senatorial zone and that members of the state executive unanimously appointed him to replace Nweze when he resigned.
Shortly after that state congress, Emeakayi was invited to attend the National Executive Council, NEC, meeting of PDP in Abuja as the Anambra State chairman of the party and on his return, he briefed members of the party in the state on the development.
It was no surprise that the new slogan in Anambra PDP was ‘Agha Ebigo’ (the battle is over). Members of the party were therefore taken aback when a group calling itself Fresh Congress Group of PDP emerged shortly after the Abuja meeting and immediately planned a rally in Awka.
Planning a rally
That rally was not to be as the court stopped it. Chairman of the group, Pastor Emma Obiora, who told newsmen that his group had spent a whooping N37 million before they were stopped by court, said it was unfortunate that the intention of his group was misunderstood by some people who never meant well for PDP in Anambra State.
Insisting that the Fresh Congress group of PDP was not a faction in the party, Pastor Obiora insisted that there is no recognized executive of the party in the state saying that the void was what led to the party’s loss in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
“We are not sponsored by anybody and those who say we are being sponsored by governorship aspirants are only trying to dent our image. There are however those who support what we are doing and they include Senator Joy Emodi, special adviser to the president on National Assembly matters, Senator Ben Obi, special adviser to the president on inter party affairs, Mrs. Stella Oduah, minister of aviation, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, special adviser to the president on technical matters, among others.
Continuing, he said: “There are other stakeholders who support what we are doing and they include Prince Arthur Eze, Sir Emeka Offor, Sir Mike Nwakalor, among others. Former vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme is also in support of our effort.
Our decision to involve the grass root to find a lasting peace in the party is because some of the personalities involved in the crisis that had bedeviled the party in Anambra State for the past nine years cannot sit together to discuss peace,” he added.
Giving the agenda of the group, he said that “the national chairman should call to order, factions parading themselves as Anambra State executive committee of PDP at all levels; discipline all members and groups who still have court cases against the party anywhere in the country; set up caretaker committees of the party at all levels for a period of six months to conduct fresh registration of old, new and intending members of PDP in the state and prepare ground from a fresh congress of the party in the state.”