How Prof Ayu’s impunity and arrogance are killing Ebonyi PDP

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By the time you read this opinion, Prof Ayu and Senator Sam Dady Anyanwu would have reached their wits’ end or finally buried PDP in Ebonyi due to ego, impunity and arrogance. I am highly disappointed in PDP and still can’t understand how and why an opposition party that has every chance on earth to wrestle power from the most incompetent political party in the world will just waste the opportunity.

If Ebonyi ended up like Zamfara state APC, please don’t go too far to blame anyone; blame Prof Iyoricha Ayu and his compromised leadership and tainted ego.

Recall that on the 25th of May 2022 , INEC had cause to write to all the parties, including PDP, reminding them of Section 84 (1) of the electoral act. In the said letter signed by the secretary of the commission, it reminded the parties that the commission will not recognise any candidate from a primary election not monitored by it .

In compliance, the PDP National Working Committee established the Rotimi Olalekan led Committee for Ebonyi Primary Election and scheduled 28 – 29 of May 2022 for the Primary Election.  The election was conducted in the open and at the party secretariat. INEC was fully represented. The election held without incident. According to INEC report and PDP Committee report, the election was free and transparent. Dr Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii won and was returned as winner by the returning officer. 

This is not who the godfathers want. Their favoured candidate was trounced . There and then they contrived a plot to say the election has been cancelled and shamelessly purport to reschedule their own election on June 4 and5. The delegates of Ebonyi disassociated themselves from this shenanigan and INEC too boycotted it, having monitored a previous election which was free, fair and credible.

Predictably a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki had since nullified the said election and ordered PDP to submit the rightful winner, Dr Chukwuma Odii to INEC. At the time of my writing this opinion, Prof Ayu and his gang at Casino Wadata are yet to comply with the order of the court and the dictates of democracy. They are not yet in power but playing god and disobeying court orders. Only God knows what they will become if PDP should win the 2023 election.

Nigerians definitely will not want another government that will not respect the rule of law.

In writing this opinion, I wish to speak to the individual conscience of all the party elders in the state to use their position as elders, their knowledge and talent to find political solution to their problems.  I don’t think the Ebonyi PDP problems are intractable and I don’t see any reason why politicians in the state want to fight to the last man standing. That’s not the nature of politics or how politicians resolve issues. 

From my investigation, it appears that some influential members of the party are frightened by 45-year-old Dr Chukwuma Ifeanyi Odii as the party’s flag bearer, following his emergence in the primary election conducted on May 29, 2022. I think this fear is unfounded. Chukwuma is a team player who honour and respect elders. He will not betray the mandate or the party.

The election that produced Chukwuma as a candidate was conducted by a committee established by the PDP National Working Committee and monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies. The primary was beamed live on national television, precisely African Independent Television (AIT). Rotimi Olalekan who led the committee that conducted the election declared the election to be free, fair, open and transparent. He accordingly declared 45-year-old Chukwuma Ifeanyi Odii winner and returned as duly elected to fly the party’s flag.

At this point, mischief and intrigues that is now destroying the relative peace in the party surfaced.  On the prompting of some influential stakeholders connected to Wadata House Abuja, the NWC directed the suspension of all primaries in the state including the primary that produced Dr. Odii as the PDP gubernatorial candidate. When reminded that it cannot suspend a concluded exercise, the NWC turned around to declare that it has cancelled all the primary elections conducted in Ebonyi State by PDP. This is impunity and arrogance taken too far.

If Ebonyi PDP wants to wrestle power from APC in 2023, their best bet is to field a candidate that is sure footed, formidable  and courageous, a candidate who will not be a parasite on the party.

I have heard various arguments against the gentleman, most of which do not hold any water.  In this article I will address two of the often-repeated arguments among which are that the primary election conducted on Sunday May 30th 2022 was marked by irregularities and the issue of zoning. 

On the issue of irregularities: There is no substance in this as neither the reports of the Ebonyi PDP gubernatorial committee nor INEC or any of the security agencies that monitored the primary election reported irregularities or any breach of peace. In fact, Rotimi Olalekan who led the Ebonyi State Gubernatorial Election Committee that returned Dr Chukwuma Odii as validly elected emphasized that the election was free, transparent and conducted in the open. Where then did PDP NWC manufacture the report of irregularities from? 

On the vexed issue of zoning: Zoning or rotation was not intended to be a permanent feature of  our democracy but an ad-hoc arrangement to redress and compensate for imbalance in power sharing. It’s my understanding that all the three senatorial zones in Ebonyi have variously produced a governor from 1999 to date. If this is correct, then the issue of zoning becomes irrelevant and cannot stand against merit and competence. More so, in all previous elections in the state, persons from other zones have contested. So, the zoning argument is weak just like the allegation of irregularities was unfounded.

Since, the Ebonyi crisis came to my attention, I have made personal efforts to reach out to some major stakeholders in the state to encourage them to find political solution to the problem in the larger interest of the party. In the process, I have interacted with people in all the Senatorial Zones within the state. 

I dare say that people’s problems are the same. After the brutal leadership they went through in the past seven years, what the people want is a leader with the fear of God and human sympathy. What they want is someone that understands their basic needs, someone who will create an  enabling environment for prosperous economy; someone who will provide the kind of education that will enable them fit into the economy; someone who understands that they need jobs when they can be employed; someone who understands they need to be paid for work they have done, and that when they retire, they retire with respect and dignity; they want when they are sick to be able to go to a good hospital at an affordable cost; they want to live in peace, safety and security.

The Chukwuma Odii that I know is humble, respectful and God fearing. He is a man that understands the  basic needs of the people and these are what drives his ambition and interest in politics. As an individual he has done so much giving back to the society. His quest for political office is only to enable him do more for the people. 

It’s unfortunate that a matter that would have been resolved as a family affair was allowed to become a subject of litigations in court. Already there is a subsisting court order restraining both PDP and INEC from conducting any other primary election other than the primary election duly conducted  on the 28th and 29th of May, 2022. Yet in flagrant defiance of the court order, the NWC directed the conduct of another primary. This directive will only compound the crisis and orchestrate bigger crisis that may finally collapse the party. More so, the National Chairman must be reminded that he is not above the law as he risks contempt of court.

On the Ebonyi crisis, PDP must tread with caution. This is important to avoid a repeat of what transpired in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections, on the side of the All Progressives Congress; and in Rivers State, on the part of the APC. Since the people have chosen their candidates, I urge the party leadership to toe the part of peace and justice.On the Ebonyi crisis, PDP must tread with caution. This is important to avoid a repeat of what transpired in Zamfara State in the 2019 general elections, on the side of the All Progressives Congress; and in Rivers State, on the part of the APC. Since the people have chosen their candidates, I urge the party leadership to toe the part of peace and justice.

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