The Independent National Electoral Commission and the National Working Committee of the PDP differ on who is the authentic state chairman of the party in Anambra State
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Aug. 26, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE show of power between the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Anambra State chapter and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over the state chairmanship of the party, has stirred up confusion in the party ahead of its congress on August 24. In its letter to the PDP, INEC said that Ejike Oguebego is the authentic state chairman of the party, while the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, recognises Ken Emeakayi, as the state chairman.
This controversy became compounded last week resulting in the holding of two parallel ward congresses on August 12, with INEC monitoring the congress of Oguebego-led faction, while the NWC of the PDP supervised that of the Emeakayi-led group. Some PDP chieftains in the state have faulted the decision of INEC to monitor Oguebego-led group ward congress. They criticised INEC for deliberately causing confusion in the party and also condemned the conduct of the ward congress, saying that it was a breach of agreement and trust. They noted that it was agreed by all that there would be a free and fair congress, which was reaffirmed by the entire aspirants and regretted the manner in which the congress was conducted.
Tony Akachukwu, a party chieftain, said his people waited endlessly without seeing any material for the election, stressing that nothing had happened in his area. “There was a deliberate attempt to scuttle and undermine the aspirations of PDP in Anambra State because two nights ago, those who were to conduct the elections in various places came in. They were already on ground as at Monday. All the party faithful assembled at their various wards across the state. Prior to that, there was an agreement that materials should be sent straight to the wards and that was why, three days ago, there was a publication about locations and personnel to conduct the election.
“To our surprise, they assembled buses at the Marble Arch Hotel and said the materials should go to the local governments. We said no; this was not the agreement. One of the agreements was that as soon as the primaries were held, all the results will be declared at the wards and the parties will have the copies of the results and that there will be a video to record the proceedings, but none of that was observed. Two o’clock, three o’clock, we were hearing about complications, that there was a parallel congress going on, in the Oguebego group and that INEC went there to observe the election,” he said.
A source in party said that the implication of what is happening is that INEC will reject the list of PDP candidates from Emeakayi-led state executive committee. “We are back to the usual crisis trailing the conduct of primaries in Anambra State. There are two chairmen leading the PDP in Anambra State. Going by relevant laws which INEC is sticking to, the authentic chairman of the PDP in the state is Ejike Oguebego. But the PDP, at the national level has recognised Emeakayi. Unless the party puts its house in order, any aggrieved member could take advantage of the crisis to seek a court order to nullify the outcome of the PDP governorship primaries in the state,” the source said.
The INEC letter signed by U.F. Usman on behalf of the secretary, stated that it did not know how Emeakayi emerged as the state chairman of the party and by its records, Oguebego is the authentic chairman of the party in Anambra State. The letter reads in part: “The commission further considered the ruling of the Federal High Court, Awka, in Suit No. FHC/AWK/CS/174/2012-Ken Emeakayi vs. PDP and Ors in which the court granted an order to maintain status quo in all matters pending before the Federal High Court as they stood on the 31st day of May, 2013, the date of the order.
“The commission has taken due consideration of all the cases above referred and decided on the following: That the commission not being a party to the suit in the High Court of the FCT which nullified the congress at which Ejike Oguebego was elected is not bound by the judgment. That the commission did not monitor the process that brought in Ken Emeakayi as the Anambra State chairman of the PDP.
“The order of the Federal High Court which ordered a return to the status quo and the recent order of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, which restrained the commission from recognising or dealing with Ken Emeakayi as the chairman of the PDP in Anambra State. The commission has resolved that it will not withdraw its letter reference No: INEC/EPM/PDP/ 24/1/ 153 of 26th July, 2013, by which the commission recognised Ejike Oguebego as the chairman of the PDP in Anambra State and shall be bound by the recent order of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.”
INEC gave the details of the legal intricacies trailing the constitution of a state executive committee of PDP in Anambra State. “Further to your letter of 31st July, 2013, that of the Acting National Secretary of the PDP, Dr. Charles Aderemi Akinyoye, of 6th August 2013 and the meeting between some members of the NEC of the PDP and the Commission on the above subject matter, the Commission caused detailed review of relevant facts of the subject matter to be made. The Commission found that whereas it monitored the State Congress of the PDP in Anambra State in 2010 at which Chief Emma Nweze emerged as the Anambra State Chairman of the party, it has no record of how Ken Emeakayi suddenly became the chairman of the party in Anambra state.
“In March 2012, the PDP conducted another congress in Anambra State at which Ejike Oguebego was elected as the State Chairman of the party. Both the PDP and the Commission continued to accord recognition to Ejike Oguebego as State Chairman of the party in Anambra state until the Commission received the letter of the Acting National Chairman on 31st July, 2013.
“The Commission notes with abhorrence the deliberate concealment of the judgement of the FCT High Court delivered on 5th July, 2012 in Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/2631/2012 between Emma Mbamalu vs. PDP by which the court declared the ward, local government and state congresses held in March 2012 in Anambra State at which Ejike Oguebego emerged as State Chairman of the PDP, Anambra State as null and void and ordered the PDP to conduct other congresses in Anambra State though the Commission was not a party in the suit.
“The revelation of the existence of the judgement by the PDP only on 31st July, 2013, has imposed serious constraints on both the Commission and the party. The Commission has considered the two ex-parte orders issued in favour of Ken Emeakayi in Suit No. FHC/AWK/CS/309/2012 between Ken Emeakayi Vs. INEC and 6 others, the certified true copy of the consent judgement of the High Court of Anambra State of 21st March 2012 on Suit No. a/171/2011 between Hon. Uche Ogbonna and 2 others Vs PDP and 4 others in which the court entered consent judgement between Uche Ogbonna and Ken Emeakayi in favour of Ken Emeakayi but which the court specifically stated that it is not binding on the PDP and its national officers.
“The Commission further considered the judgement of the FCT High Court above referred to and the ex-parte order of the Federal High Court, Port Harourt, made on 6 th August 2013 in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/213/2013 between Ejike Ogbuebego and 2 others Vs. PDP and INEC in which the Commission was restrained from accepting, dealing with, recognizing or doing anything with Ken Emeakayi as the PDP Chairman in Anambra State pending the hearing of the motion on notice which is adjourned to 20 the August 2013.”