A Peoples Democratic Party governorship aspirant in the 2023 general election in Ebonyi State, Ifeanyi Odii, has said it is more imperative for leaders and stakeholders of the party to close ranks and secure the future of Ebonyi people than engage in frivolous lies capable of scuttling its chances ahead of the polls.
Odii, who pointed out that the common enemy of the PDP in the state was the ruling All Progressives Congress, maintained that he was the authentic governorship ‘candidate’ of the party.
The PUNCH had reported that the National Working Committee of the PDP cancelled the May 28 and 29, 2022 primary election, that elected Odii as ‘candidate’, claiming it was held against its directive and ordered a rescheduled primary election on June 5 and 6, 2022.
The rescheduled primary election brought the Senator representing Ebonyi Central Zone in the Red Chamber, Senator Obinna Ogba, as the ‘candidate’ of the PDP in the state. But a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, the state capital, declared Ogba’s ‘candidature’ null and void, and upheld Odii’s.
However, Ogba had, while displaying the Certificate of Return issued to him by the NWC on Saturday, in Abakaliki, told journalists that he was the authentic governorship ‘candidate’ of the party, saying his opponent, Odii, was embarking on exercise in futility.
But Odii, in a statement signed and issued, on Sunday, by the Director of Media and Publicity, Anyi Chuks (Odii) Campaign Organisation, Chief Abia Onyike, disagreed with Ogba, insisting he remains the ‘candidate’ of the PDP, in Ebonyi State.
He said, “I wish to refer to the press conference addressed yesterday, 11th June, 2022 by Sen. Obinna Ogba and to react as follows:
The crisis rocking the PDP in Ebonyi State is a self-inflicted logjam which came about because of weak leadership. However, the crisis cannot persist without a resolution and the time to resolve it has come, if the party must rise to the occasion in the state as a liberation movement in the hands of Ebonyi people to rescue themselves from the atrocities of the incumbent APC government in the state.
“The resolution of the crisis could be achieved not through falsehood or the telling of blatant lies to the suffering people of Ebonyi. Our teeming members and the ordinary people on the streets need to be told the true situation of things so that they can face the situation squarely and take their destiny into their own hands.
“The PDP governorship candidate today is Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii. He won the primary election conducted by the PDP on 28th and 29th of May, 2022. The three-man Delegate List used for the primary election was the outcome of the State PDP Congress of 7th May, 2022, which was eventually recognised by the PDP National Working Committee. That primary election was properly authorised by the PDP NWC and was peacefully conducted with the INEC monitoring the exercise in line with the Electoral Guidelines and the 2022 Electoral Act. An attempt by the opposition to cancel the successfully conducted primary election suffered a set-back.
“The parallel primary conducted on the 5th and 6th of June, was an anti-democratic intervention by some powerful forces who were hell-bent on reversing the popular will of the people. The ruling of the Federal High Court in Abakaliki on 7th June, 2022 restoring the authenticity of the first primary which elected Dr Odii was a historic confirmation of the democratic will of Ebonyi PDP cadres as against the dictatorship and imposition by a few Godfathers.
“On the 10th of June, 2022, the national body of the party obeyed the Court order by forwarding the names of all the candidates elected during the legitimate primary of 28 and 29 May, 2022 to INEC and the processing of their forms have commenced.
“The PDP governorship candidate in the person of Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii is willing and ready to provide leadership and to reconcile the members of the party after the divisions arising from the internal power struggle.
“We appeal to the leaders and members of our great Party in the state to embrace the path of maturity and reconciliation at this moment to enable us focus on the common enemy as we gradually approach the 2023 general election. We should quickly recover from the fallouts of the primary elections and close ranks in the interest of our people and the future of the state