By Francis Igata
The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate in Enugu State, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has settled for Cecilia Ezeillo as running mate ahead of the February 2015 general elections.
Ezeillo is the incumbent state house of assembly member, representing Ezeagu constituency.
Confirming the stance of the party, the Publicity Secretary of the party, Dr. Okey Ezeh said: “Yes, she is the governorship candidate’s running mate. We are taking cognizance of women participation in politics in the state.”
It would be recalled that since the creation of Enugu state in 1991, no woman has been saddled with the responsibility of being the second citizen in the state.
Although some analysts say the move was part of the grand plan between Ugwuanyi and Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu state to handover to a woman as his successor in 2023 if he eventually becomes governor in 2015, a cross section of Enugu residents are excited with the move.
Meanwhile, the Party has said that there was no court order restraining it from submitting the name of Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as its candidate in the 2015 governorship election in the State.
Reacting to media reports that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on Thursday ordered PDP not to submit Hon. Ugwuanyi’s name to the INEC, the party, in a statement signed by its State Publicity Secretary, Dr. Okey Eze, described the reports as “mischief by inordinate power seekers who would stop at nothing to undo the will of the people as duly and freely expressed during the December 8, 2014 governorship primary election in the State”.
The PDP said: “For the avoidance of doubt, there is no injunction whatsoever restraining the PDP from submitting the name of its validly elected candidate, Hon. I feanyi Ugwuanyi, to the INEC.
“For the avoidance of doubts, there are two cases on the Enugu governorship primary pending before Justice S.E Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja and both cases were heard on Thursday, December 18, 2014. The first is Sen. Ayogu Eze vs. PDP in which Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuany was joined following an application by his counsel, P.I.N Ikwueto (SAN). The second case is Dr. Samuel Onyishi vs. the PDP.
“The fact is that Sen. Ayogu Eze’s initial application for an ex-parte order to restrain the PDP from submitting Hon. Ugwuanyi’ name to INEC was refused by the Court as he was asked to put the PDP and INEC on Notice.
“At the resumption of the case on Thursday, December 18, 2014, the PDP, through its counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), filed a preliminary objection to the effect that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the suit, relying on the case of Senator Lado vs. the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) where the Supreme Court held that where there are parallel primaries, the party, and not the court, is to decide which primary to accept.
“The preliminary objection also raises the issue that Sen. Ayogu Eze had no locus standi to contest the outcome of the primary election since he did not participate in it”.
Noting that “One of the problems, which Senator Eze’s case faces is that the party’s National Governorship Primary Election Panel for Enugu State as well as INEC were not present at Ayogu’s purported primary election, which venue he fixed himself and held at Filbon Hotel, Enugu”, the Enugu State PDP Publicity Secretary explained that the case was fixed for January 14, 2015 for hearing of the Motion on Notice for the application injunction, the Preliminary Objection filed by the PDP, and the main suit itself.
On the suit filed by Dr. Samuel Onyishi against the PDP challenging the outcome of the governorship primary election, the Dr. Okey Eze said that “although Dr. Onyishi’s counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) had asked the court to make an interim order restraining the PDP from submitting Hon. Ugwuanyi’s name to the INEC, at no time did the Court grant any such request”
“An application for an injunction does not amount to an order of injunction; and until such an order of injunction is made, there is nothing in law restraining the PDP from performing the act against which the order is being sought”, Dr. Eze emphasised.”