The Odengene People’s Movement, (OPM), the governorship campaign platform of Capt. Evarest Nnaji, has accused Hon. Chijioke Edeoga and his sponsors of desperation in their bid to foist himself as the gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party in Enugu state.
The campaign platform also accused Edeoga of cheaply and deliberately resorting to emotional blackmail and outright lies to mislead the public and attract undue sympathy in a matter he knew he was economical with the truth.
The campaign organization made the allegations while reacting to Edeoga’s claims in a radio progamme that he was the authentic governorship candidate of the Labour party in Enugu state.
According to the Director General of the campaign Organization, Hon. Okey Ezirigwe, Capt. Evarest Nnaji is not given to deceits or groomed in political chicanery which Edeoga, in his interview, boasted he well groomed in, hence his rude and unguarded grandstanding in the media against Nnaji’s well established integrity.
• Evarest Nnaji (Odengene)
Ezirigwe described as tissue of lies, Edeoga’s claim that Nnaji begged him to concede the governorship ticket to him (Nnaji) and challenged Edeoga to explain the basis of such spurious claim, especially when both joined the party at the same time from PDP, where Edoga fully participated in the governorship primary election.
“The questions Edeoga should answer are: did Nnaji purchase the Labour Party gubernatorial expression of interest and nomination form or not, was he given a waiver after he met the party’s conditions for waiver, and did Nnaji fulfill the requirements for becoming the party’s flag bearer or not , was Nnaji at any point disqualified from participating in the primaries he fully paid for and met all conditions to emerge the consensus candidate as contained in the party guidelines, how did he (Edoga) appear as the sole candidate as seen in the amateur videos from the purported primaries that ‘produced’ him and why was the kangaroo primaries secretly held in a beer parlour located at the back of his private residence, why is he afraid of a genuinely conducted and contested primaries if he trusted his eligibility and popularity?
“The Labour Party has its peculiar guidelines for the conduct of its governorship primaries. In this regard, Capt. Evarest Nnaji fulfilled all the guidelines to emerge as a consensus candidate in an anticipated affirmative primary election. It was on that basis that the national leadership of the Labour party issued him with the INEC nomination form which he filled ” Ezirigwe said.
He described Edeoga’s allegation that Nnaji begged him to hand over the Enugu state governorship ticket of the Labour party to him (Nnaji) as a ridiculous false claim, indicative of Edeoga’s desperation that has exposed him to concoction of lies and half truths.
“What happened was that Capt. Nnaji took time to explain to Edeoga on the need for both of them to work with strategic concert and deliberate agreement instead of fighting dirty over the ticket like Edoga appear to be doing. In the first instance, Edeoga’s preferred interest was to contest for the Senate, but because his governorship quest was being driven by other narrow group interests which he owe allegiance and to which he confided in some persons was the Nsukka General Assembly, an adhoc association of some few disgruntled, self-seeking political gerontocrats from Enugu North Senatorial Zone, gathered mainly for the 2023 Enugu State governorship elections and intent to use Edeoga to return to power after years of perceived neglect. So, when it became obvious that Edeoga was under external influences, Capt. Nnaji suggested to him that they could both contest for the ticket but must avoid rancor in order to preserve and protect peace and unity of purpose within the Labour Party going into the general elections.
“There was this Pat Utomi-led meeting of the party stakeholders in Lagos that had all the party leaders and relevant stakeholders, TUC, NLC and all in attendance, wherein it was agreed the Labour Party has two governorship aspirants in Enugu state. It was agreed that primaries should be conducted for the two candidates, Nnaji and Edeoga. While Capt. Nnaji was waiting for the party to release a date for the primary election, Edeoga in what his quack technical advisers considered a smart maneuver, rushed and conducted a fake primary election in collusion with his old school mate who parade himself as the state chairman of the party in a beer palour right at the back of Edeoga’s house .
“The purported INEC officials who claimed to have observed the fake election did not emanate from Abuja and INEC had since put a disclaimer on them. The security agents who attended the purported primary election were proved not to have been officially assigned to observe the process and there was no official memo stating that the party had fixed a primary election between the two of Edeoga and Nnaji. If the party did, there is no way Nnaji would not be present and the venue would not have been in a beer bar located next to the home of Edeoga. Such a venue couldn’t have been chosen by the party.
“Even the fake Labour Party members, mostly villagers from Eha-Amufu community where Edeoga hails from, who gathered at the kangaroo primary election as party delegates were picked up and driven in a hired yellow bus from where they converged at the Ugwogo-Nike Express road that leads to Eha-Amufu and Ikem to the secret venue of the charade, conducted by the self acclaimed state party chairman, one Casmir Agbo, who “criminally” announced Edeoga as the sole aspirant,” Ezirigwe stated.
On the allegation by Edeoga that Nnaji did not pay for the nomination form through his individual account, hence was not a candidate, Ezirigwe said it was laughable yet regretful coming from someone like him. He said that there is nothing in the law books that stops a third party from paying for a nomination Form for a chosen aspirant, more so, a candidate using his lawful private company account to purchase nomination form.
“In all his media onslaught and unprovoked tantrums from his social media recruits, our Principal, Capt. Evarest Nnaji has remained calm and collected, he is not at war with Edeoga, he is only interested in having the right thing done, he comes from a cooperate background where every process is guided by rules. He is not inclined to cutting corners like most career politicians, he has protested and submitted applications to relevant organs and arm of government, including the party hierarchy, demanding that the process leading to the emergence of the party’s Governorship flag bearer should strictly follow the party guidelines, his application is receiving the deserved attention and soon, the proper thing would be done and seen to have been done.
“Therefore, we urge our brother Chijioke Edeoga, to stop heating up the party, we don’t need it here, we need to keep the peace in Enugu Labour Party and work together to ensure we make Enugu a fertile ground for the growth and unmitigated escalation of the OBIdient Bug catching the entire country. We are not fighting with Edeoga, there is no need to, this is a political process that has guideline, let him trust the process and submit himself to this guideline as Capt. Nnaji has done, making noise all over the place and recruiting thugs to disrupt events organized by Nnaji to promote the OBIdient movement at Home where Charity Begins are irresponsible and desperate acts that would not win him the ticket, let the process run its right course and whoever emerges, the other would honorably concede and work for the common good.” Ezirigwe cautioned.
…extends hands of fellowship to opposition
…restates commitment to campaign promises
Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has lauded the decision of the Enugu State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which dismissed the petitions of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and the Labour Party (LP) candidates challenging his victory in the March 18, 2023 governorship election, describing the decision as victory for democracy and the people of Enugu State.
Dr. Mbah, who also extended hands of fellowship to the opposition candidates and their political parties, said the task to build Enugu remained a collective one, adding that he was committed to working with all, irrespective of political persuasions.
The tribunal chaired by Justice Kudirat Akano, had earlier in the day dismissed the petitions of the governorship candidate of the PRP, Chris Agu, and the candidate of the LP, Chijioke Edeoga.
Addressing the state, at the Government House, Enugu, Mbah said: “This is another memorable day in the anal of our dear state, as the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal affirmed the mandate, which you freely gave to us on 18th of March this year.
“This is victory for Ndi Enugu. It is also victory for democracy.
“It is a victory for massive development for Ndi Enugu. It is a victory for exponential growth for Ndi Enugu. It is a victory for Enugu’s greatness. It is a victory for the ban on Monday sit-at-home. It is also victory for our determination to restore water in all your homes in the next 68 days”.
While thanking God for making the victory possible, Dr. Mbah also commended the tribunal for painstakingly dissecting the petitions and “for coming out with fair and just decision that resonates with Ndi Enugu”.
According to him, “the verdict has further strengthened our confidence in the judiciary as the temple of justice and the last hope of the common man”.
Extending hands of fellowship to his opponents, Mbah said: “There is time for everything under the sun. There is time to strive and time to unite. We all put ourselves forward to serve Ndi Enugu. The people have spoken and the tribunal has also affirmed. If service was the motivation, then it is time to rise above partisanship and come together because there is so much work to be done.
“Our arms are wide open and I beckon on my brothers, who ran this race with us, to join us in the onerous task of building a new Enugu State of our dreams.
“In the same vein, I enjoin all our supporters to be magnanimous in victory. Politics is over. Governance began on 29th May when we were inaugurated. It is time to unite”.
Governor Mbah, who reiterated his resolve to deliver on his campaign promises, further stressed that the tribunal’s decision was an elixir to do more, and urged the people to hold him to account on those promises.
“Once more, I immensely thank the good people of Enugu State, who not only believed in us, but also vested their mandate in us. Above all also above, they have stood by us every step of the way.
“I want to assure them that I will work for them with every fibre of my being. I stand by every campaign promise I made as espoused in our Statement of Purpose. I also stand by the Citizens Charter that I executed on my first day in office. The Enugu people should hold me to account. I will not let them down”, he concluded.
The Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu has upheld the election of Dr. Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the March 18 election in the state.
Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party (LP) had approached the tribunal to challenge the declaration on the grounds that Mbah wasn’t qualified to stand for the election.
He alleged that he forged his National Youth Service Corps, NYSC certificate and cases of over-voting in Udenu, Nkanu East and Enugu East local government areas.
The Tribunal chaired by Justice Kudirat Murayo Akano dismissed all grounds of petition saying his petition lacked merit.
The panel held that NYSC isn’t a requirement for contesting for the office of the Governor and there’s no where that the NYSC Certificate was attached to the documents Mbah submitted to INEC by the respondent.
On the issue of forging NYSC Certificate, the panel discountenanced all the evidences by the DSS, NYSC official and others because they weren’t in compliance with paragraph 4, sub-section 5D of the evidence act.
Only the witness of the pw26 which was described as a hearsay by the panel and those not help the petitioners and therefore resolved the issue of Certificate Forgery in favour of Mbah.
On the issue of wrong computation of results of the Labour Party in Udenu local government, the panel said they petitioners failed to prove his case and the witnesses they called gave the same report from different polling units and wards and wondered why their testimonies are the same even from different locations.