Hon. Chijoke Edoga special assistant to the president on National Assembly Matters was a former chairman of the House of Representatives committee on information at the onset of the present democratic dispensation in 1999.

Edgoa who is from Enugu State and an enthusiastic supporter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP governorship candidate, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in this interview reviews the contest and expectations from the people of the state. Excerpts:
is your reaction to the court judgment upholding Rep. Ugwuanyi’s candidature?

It is firstly a victory for the PDP and democracy, then a victory for Ugwuanyi himself. I say so because if the court had ruled otherwise, it would have meant that the PDP national headquarters, which conducted the primary must have perpetuated or promoted illegality. It would also have meant that the whole membership of the Enugu PDP, all the Enugu political stakeholders, the ad hoc and statutory delegates, which trouped out en masse to elect Ugwuanyi as our flag bearer would have wasted our time. So, I am happy that the Court respected our wish.

Where does Enugu PDP party go from here?

Chijioke Edeoga

If you read the statement issued by the Enugu PDP, you would have noticed that much as we are very and feel vindicated, we believe nobody should be left in the cold. Ayogu Eze and Sam Onyishi are members of our big family. The political stakeholders in Enugu in general and the Nsukka area where they all come from, including the traditional institutions, believe that the aggrieved former aspirants should join hands with Ugwuanyi to move the party and the state forward. That, to me, is the best way to go. We can’t litigate forever.

Now, let us talk about the campaign in Enugu, where you were very visible. Would you say your party’s candidate, Ugwuanyi is on course to victory?

Yes. I participated in the campaign actively, both in my capacity as a member of the PDP and as a staff of the President of the Federal Republic. At each place where my presence was announced, the fact that the personal representative of the president was in the campaign was also part of the larger campaign of the Jonathan administration. As a bonafide member of Enugu state PDP, I also participated. The campaign lasted close to a month because it started on the 19th of January and ended on the 12th of February. That is almost a month. It was a month of excitement, drama and enthusiasm. It will be a coronation when election holds because it is widely said that, there is no other candidate since Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s emergence. His acceptance rivals only that of Jim Nwaobodo. People compare him to Nwobodo in terms of charisma and popular appeal. We are witnessing the kind of his speech, enthusiasm, public acceptability, that was witnessed when Jim Nwobodo emerged as Governor of old Anambra state in 1979. That was the verdict of almost all the people who witnessed both eras and their dispensations.

But what do you make of the absence of some key members of the party in the rallies?

No. Only few people stayed away. It is difficult to know really who stayed away or who did not stay away, because, as I told you the attendance was high. The large crowd made it difficult for anybody to look out for a particular person who was there or absent.

So in all the Local Governments we went to, prominent sons of the Local Government came to support the campaign. That lent credence to the credibility and further legitimacy to the campaign that was going on. Music was provided, beautifully dressed women led by Mrs Nwofor , the PDP women leader touched up the atmosphere .

So we had the spiritual authority conferred in almost all the Local Government Areas to the candidate. We had leaders like Jim Nwaobodo, Okwesilieze Nwodo,   Nnamani       Former governor Ogugua , Ekweremadu, Doctor Eugene Edoga all enthusiastically participated .

It is not all the occasions that Jim Nwaobodo for instance makes out time to attend.

Any occasion he makes out time to attend in Enugu state, people regard it as something worthwhile. Jim Nwaobodo came to confirm legitimacy, credibility and to make a statement that everybody is with Hon Ifeanyi and our dear Governor, Sullivan.

What would you make of the refusal of Ayogu Eze to be placated?

The other people who contested for the position have all united with the PDP campaign council. There are people who have one issue or the other, they still came and made the campaign thick. For instance, Frank Nweke, was with us . He is in court because of the procedure the party adopted, but he also came to identify with the pageantry aspect of the campaign.

Ayogu’s refusal to be placated is something I do not want to talk about because I am not a mind reader, I do not know why he does not want to be placated. The legal approach he has adopted is an accepted part of our democratic norm and he is entitled to canvass his views or his rejection of the outcome of the primaries. In court, we have had people who have tried these options. I do know that the Supreme Court has made pronouncements regarding things like this in the past. Those who are learned in law said that there are Supreme Court pronouncements that had already decided the path in which Ayogu Ezeh is threading. So without really going into the nitty gritty of his action or what is going to be decided at the lower court where the matter is going on, the important thing is that the democratic process is going on in Enugu state. Ifeanyi emerged by popular consensus, by acclamation and by acceptance that is not common in recent times.


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