Ahead of the Anambra State governorship election scheduled for November 16, 2013, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), National Working Committee (NWC) recently summoned the party gladiators to a peace summit at Wadata Plaza, Abuja.
It was a gathering of party elders and gubernatorial hopefuls, under the aegis of Anambra PDP Stakeholders.
For a political party that has been in limbo for about eight years in the state, the fear of total annihilation was palpable. The state chapter of the party had been polarized into factions, each laying claim to the leadership of the party.
The turn out for the meeting summoned by the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur was impressive as its agenda was taken seriously. Among those present were former governor of the state, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, former Health Minister, Professor ABC Nwosu, Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Andy Uba, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and Obinna Uzoh.
Tukur pleaded with the party chieftains to be frank in their individual presentation, and be willing to bury their differences: “It is a shame to be in Anambra and not have the state under PDP. Anambra by the grace of God, would be won by PDP. But there must be a process and it must be done properly. That’s part of what we have been doing.
“In Anambra, there shall be a level playing field. There shall be no imposition of candidate. But to get the level playing field, we need peace, we need sincerity and discipline to hold our party and win the election in Anambra State. I assure you that what we say here is what we are going to do.”
Nwosu told the gathering: “It is PDP that has always defeated PDP in Anambra. Even when PDP won, PDP said it didn’t win and the governor was forcibly removed. Subsequent elections have been PDP working against PDP.
“The first thing is to resolve here and let it be resolved here that there shall be no anti-party. Whoever emerges, PDP will support the person. If there are differences, let it be resolved.
If you are struggling for governor and you don’t know that you should use the side of the knife and you use the front of the knife and cut off the head. Anambra will open door for the destabilization of the South-East and through it, the destabilization of Nigeria.”
Mbadinuju admonished the party national leadership to conduct a transparent governorship primary: “It is when people are shortchanged that they go to court. We have to encourage those who are in the field that the process would be transparent.”
Tukur undermines reconciliation
But few weeks after the peace summit, the party secretariat came out with a stunning decision throwing spanners into its trouble shooting initiatives. A statement by its acting national publicity secretary, Caesar Okeke, announced Ken Emeakayi as the state party chairman.
He declared that the Tukur-led NWC took the decision after “comprehensive consultations with the major stakeholders of our great party in Anambra State, coupled with the desire to have a strong and united party to effectively reposition the fortunes of the party as the November 16, 2013, governorship election approaches.”
Before the official recognition given Emeakayi, there were the Obi Okoye, Benji Udeozo and Ejike Ogbuebego factions, each claiming to be the authentic party leadership in state.
For a leadership that had given a pledge to accommodate all factions, its stance to recognize a faction, Daily Sun findings revealed, could be a stumbling block to its assurance to restore amity in the state chapter of the party.
The INEC overruled the PDP NWC less than 28 hours after the recognition of Emeakayi: ”You may wish to be reminded that the commission monitored a state congress of the PDP in the state at which Ogbuebego was elected chairman.
“The commission accordingly recognised Ogbuebego as the state chairman of the PDP in Anambra State. The commission has not been served with any order in which the court nullified the election of the said Ogbubego as the state chairman of your party in Anambra State. This is to inform you that the commission will continue to recognize Ogbuebego until specifically ordered otherwise by a court of law.”
The issue of authentic leadership of the party in the state dominated the meeting between the party governorship aspirants and the Seriake Dickson led PDP 30-man National Reconciliation Committee, at a meeting penultimate week in Abuja, according to Daily Sun.
The Bayelsa State Governor told newsmen after the session that there were reservations over the existing party structure in Anambra State in which he admitted was beyond his committee to resolve. Dickson, however, expressed delight that the aspirants had assured his committee to accept the outcome of the party primary:
“The PDP is putting its house together so that we can go for the election as members of one family. They have all agreed to bury their individual differences and resolved to work together as members of one family to win Anambra State for the PDP in the gubernatorial election.”
Events in the next few weeks will show whether the party stalwarts will redeem their pledge.”