The Labour Party governorship candidate for Enugu State, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, says he left the People’s Democratic Party, PDP not out of desperation but to answer the call by the people of the state to serve.
He was reacting to allegations that he reneged on the peace pact and accord he signed with 17 other governorship aspirants of the PDP ahead of the guber primary to support whoever emerged victorious in the primary election.
Edeoga, who served as two-term commissioner under the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi before venturing into the 2023 guber race, declared that he had no apology for ditching the ruling party to contest on the Labour Party platform.
“We are in a precarious and challenging time in Enugu State and Nigeria. The crisis of this time does not allow for any kind of hesitation because the fortunes of our children are clearly in doubt. The fact of the mis-governance now and in the past years has become obvious and the consequences have combined to the extent that all men of goodwill must act. So, it is not desperation of ambition. It is a call; it is a response to the urgent demands of these times.
“There is a domestic crisis; absolute lack of employment opportunities for the youths of Enugu State and Nigeria in general; no prospect of employment; not one single sustainable employment outfit has been created in Enugu State in the past seven years. The anger of our youths is boiling over.
“There is insecurity everywhere and even our farmers cannot go to the farms again. The villages are occupied by terrorists; 14 villages in my home town in Mgbuji are presently occupied by terrorists with beautiful names.
‘They kill, they rape and they maim and people keep asking questions about what we are doing. Things that the government should do in the daily cost of living are not done and there is no doubt that people who mean well, who see service as what it ought to be must rise to the demands of these times. The times are precarious.
“My desire is a response to the multifarious cries that I have heard and these cries were there when I was running in the PDP,” Edeoga told newsmen in Enugu on Tuesday.
On the allegation that he dumped the PDP for LP out of desperation and disobedience to the decision of the party leaders and stakeholders on consensus, Edeoga said:
“When you say I’m not being a man of my own words and you talk about an MoU that you have not seen you are being judgmental. You have not read that MoU. The MoU speaks specifically about not going to court. Its intentions were that the outcome of that primary should not be challenged in court and that we should conduct ourselves in a democratic manner. So, nowhere in the MoU did it intend to circumscribe anyone’s democratic rights to aspire.
“The MoU was a matter that was agreed by some aspirants in the PDP family and it was within a contest in the firm belief that the primary itself will be conducted according to democratic norms and its outcome will be acceptable to the majority of Enugu State people.
“If the outcome of that primary, which the PDP, which was before then the dominant party in Enugu State conducted was acceptable to everybody, the loud and ominous silence that greeted its outcome wouldn’t have happened.
“The popularity that Labour Party has garnered and continued to gain, especially since I became a candidate wouldn’t have been strong. It won’t be strong if the outcome of PDP primary was in consonance with the wishes of the majority of Enugu State people because, ideally, delegates should carry out the express wishes of the people they represent.
“Those delegates of the PDP should represent the dominant opinion of Enugu people which means that if another party had come, it would have been received with lukewarm support, but that is not the case in Enugu State.
“My entry into the Labour Party in addition to Peter Obi’s previous entry has galvanized Enugu State in such a manner that has never been before. So, it shows you that there is a dissonance, that there is disconnect between the outcome of that primary and people of Enugu State.”
Giving further reasons why the PDP at the national level could no longer enjoy the support of the electorate in the state and the south east, Efeoga said: “I said sometime that as at the time we did our primary, the PDP at the national level had not conducted its primary for the presidential election and the president and vice presidential candidates had not emerged. For the first time in several years, the legitimate expectations of the Southeast that the PDP will be a platform where they can realize their aspiration was dashed by the choice of another Northerner to replace an outgoing Northerner; the clear marginalization of the Southeast in the choice of the vce president. It is one of the things that made me make up my mind against the PDP in addition to other things. I decided not to continue after I left the PDP, but I don’t own myself.
“There are other people following me whose insistence was that I should adopt a platform and that any platform I adopted, they will follow me so that the battle to save Enugu State can begin. There is no desperation and there is no human being in the world that cannot change his mind. It is only a stone that does not change its mind and it will be cast to the sea when the need arises; it is only a tree that does not move in case of emergency and the tree will bend. So, I have no apology for stepping out again on another platform.
“I have done nothing that is abhorrent; I have done nothing that is abnormal. I have done the right thing. The fight that I have received from the PDP shows me that I have done the right thing, that I am hitting the right ball and we are resolved, we are determined to go. Changing one’s mind is not a sin and I will change again if occasion demands for the good reason and the right direction. “
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, has appealed against the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) which upheld the victory of President Bola Tinubu.
Obi in a 50 grounds notice of appeal by his lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, filed in the Supreme Court, challenged the decision of the presidential election tribunal.
Obi, in his appeal, maintained that the PEPC erred in law and thereby reached a wrong conclusion when it dismissed the petition he lodged to challenge the outcome of the presidential poll that was held on February 25.
Among other things, he contended that Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel of the Court of Appeal, wrongly occassioned a grave miscarriage of justice against him, when it held that he did not specify polling units where irregularities occurred during the election.
He further faulted the PEPC for dismissing his case on the premise that he did not specify the figures of votes or scores that were allegedly suppressed of inflated in favour of President Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Obi equally accused the Justice Tsammani-led panel of erring in law when it relied on paragraph 4(1) (d) (2) and 54 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022 to strike out paragraphs of his petition.
While accusing the lower court of breaching his right to fair hearing, Obi, insisted that evidence of his witnesses were wrongly dismissed as incompetent.
He told the apex court that the panel unjustly dismissed his allegation that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, uploaded 18, 088 blurred results on its IReV portal.
More so, he alleged that the lower court ignored his allegation that certified true copies of documents that INEC issued to his legal team, comprised of 8, 123 blurred results that contained blank A4 papers, pictures and images of unknown persons, purporting same to be the CTC of polling units results of the presidential election.
“The learned justices of the court below erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when they held and concluded that he failed to establish the allegation of corrupt practices and over-voting,” Obi added. (NAN)
‘Today, no local government in Kogi can dig a well’
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November governorship elections in Kogi state, Senator Dino Melaye, says the people of the state have suffered unjustly on account of the “maladministration” of the Yahaya Bello-led government.
Speaking during the public presentation of the PDP policy document for the state at a brief ceremony at the PDP National Secretariat, Abuja, on Friday, Melaye said only the insane will vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November election as a result of the level of poverty, hunger and deprivation inflicted on the people of the state by the outgoing administration of Yahaya Bello.
Melaye said among all the candidates and parties participating in the governorship election in Kogi State, only the PDP is working on a policy document.
According to him, the PDP policy document was a product of a scientific research on the sections of the state economy requiring urgent attention in order to revive the economy and set the state on the path of growth.
“The civil service in Kogi State will be reformed and we will pay salaries 25th of every month and it will be full salary.
“Today in Kogi there is no middle class, it is only the rich and the poor and today those in government are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
“Two billion was released to Kogi State Government as palliatives by the federal government, but today not one person in Kogi has benefited from that money. Instead they sat down and appropriated it and said others would be used for road construction.
“By the grace of God, local government money will be local government money under the incoming PDP government. Fifteen, ten years ago, local government areas in Kogi State were doing projects, rural roads, today no local government in Kogi can dig a well.
“Local government have no vehicles, salaries were not paid, some LG secretariats are under lock and key. But we are saying that a new day is coming.
“Kogi is too blessed to be poor, i brought people from outside Nigeria who did a scientific research and gave me the mineral resources in Kogi State.
“We have 52 mineral resources in Kogi State out of which only one has been tapped, limestone.
“The rest are just there, we have Uranium, we have the largest deposit of Uranium in Nigeria in Kogi State. Yet we are participating in this market. He have others in commercial quantity.”
Melaye lamented that the people have suffered so much in Kogi State.
“In the history of the state, we have the largest number of missing persons in Nigeria, even the PDP Chairman of Okene local government area for four years we are still looking for him.
“You can only imagine the number of missing persons in Kogi State, not to talk of those murdered in broad daylight.
“These shows that we have a lot of work to do because the state has been completely bastardized, economy in shambles, hospitals are mere consulting clinics, no roads, the great water works done by former governor Ibrahim Idris, today it is eleven months, no water in Lokoja the state capital.
“That is the type of state we are going to inherit.
“We promised when we got the mandate of the people that we are going to do things differently.
“What we are doing here is to announce to Nigerians that the incoming government in Kogi State, by the grace of God will do things differently.
“No any other party is talking about policy document apart from the PDP. I have looked at this document, I have read it, it is not only robust, but a solution book.”
While promising to look inwards in order to increase the state’s internally generated revenue, Melaye revealed his plans for the monthly allocation from the Federation Account if he wins and is sworn into office as governor.
“Everyone is rushing to Abuja for federal allocation and the money collected did not even reach lokoja, it is shared in Abuja.
“When we take over the government by the grace of God. The allocation from Abuja will be dedicated to paying salaries of civil servants, pension and gratuities and promotion that will be cash backed, training and re training. We are going to raise the IGR without tasking poverty for the development of the state.
“Kogi State is a state where you enter the capital one way and go out one way. Things will be different and that is why we want the Independent Kogi Economic Development Commission, because it will be independent and we will look for credible people who will look into the Governors eye and speak the truth to power to manage and that will take us out of the present situation by the grace of God to the promise land.”
Earlier in his remarks, chairman of the policy document committee, Prof Sam Amadi said, “The policy is over a hundred pages based on hardwork by members who are from different fields.
“The committee recommended that there must be an Independent Kogi Economic Development Commission and when he becomes the governor we are insisting that the people that will constitute that committee should be above board and should have influence on the activities of the Governor.
“The commission should be independent of the Governor, it should be people with pedigree, integrity, so that where it is going wrong, he will be put right.”