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That Legal assault on Peter Obi, Labour Party hurts!

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From Chuks Collins, Awka 

The legal assault on Peter Obi, the Labour Party (LP) and Chief Victor Umeh at the instance of our own Senator Uche Ekwunife using the interrogation of Umeh’s eligibility to fly the flag of LP in the coming weekend’s Senatorial election may have exposed an orchestrated attack on Peter Obi’s Presidential aspiration.

While many could not see beyond the facade of tussle for the Anambra Central Senatorial seat, others simply see it as a targeted onslaught on Obi’s unrelenting towering stature in the coming Presidential election. The nation’s politics hall of fame has already dutifully recorded his unprecedented national acceptance, popularity and message to the nation and world as historical.

So, as the final seven days countdown kicks off, fears have risen to a high pitch level especially within other contending political camps, who wished things were completely different, especially the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC); on the likelihood of Obi sweeping the stakes.

The Anambra Central senatorial District appear worst hit, where three long time rivals -Senators Uche Ekwunife, Victor Umeh and Hon Dozie Nwankwo are locking horns for the senate seat. But curiously Ekwunife, for reasons best known to her attempts to shoot Obi, Umeh and LP down using the law courts as springboard. Whereas it’s perhaps a well calculated scheme on Obi and his party, the Obidatti International Movement, as well as the popular Peter Obi Support Network (POSN) and the body of Christ in the state.

The dangerous scheme, according to our sources was being undertaken by some elements in the PDP in conjunction with other stomach infrastructure-driven political elements nationwide who were said to be dangling Senate president seat as a bait.

The plot, we further learnt was said to have been designed to unfold in stages and had commenced long time ago. Its first stage was reportedly successful with the name calling of Obi as a “kindergarten president” It was closely followed by the multiple attempts to downplay/discourage his moves/messages of hope, saying he has no structure and that his supporters were merely on social media alone and none on ground.

Another stage was ignited to key into the previous one by describing his mammoth enthusiastic crowd that greeted the nationwide Obidatti Movement rallies as “rented”.

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But when the lies persistently failed to make any impact, the already exasperated antagonists tried violent assault on the self motivated surging crowds,-to see if they would retaliate for them to seize the opportunity to unleash mayhem on the young Obidients who were cheering Obi as their guide compass to recover Nigeria, their common destiny and freedom from the mindless-structured traducers.

SEE ALSO:  Ex-Imo gov, Emeka Ihedioha resigns from PDP

This was while some of the antagonists at the corridors of power including Governors Ahmed El-rufai of Kaduna State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State/Presidential running mate of the PDP, as as well as Gov SanwOlu of Lagos State refused any indoor, outdoor advert placement of Obidatti Presidential campaign, rallies and gathering in any part of their States.

But who can fight a vision whose time has come, or God’s anointed? Certainly nobody!

Yet another stage was to use Chief Umeh, the LP’s Anambra Central Senatorial candidate to try to subtly attack Obi and the Obidatti Movement.

Pronto, Umeh was disqualified vide a Federal High Court verdict on Jan 27,2023. And he quickly went on appeal.  Already, the Appeal panel drawn from Enugu Division has sat, taken oral and written arguments and final addresses. The judgement was now deferred for a day to be announced soon.

And should he fail, then it would simply become a straight fight between his main traducer, Ekwunife and another political hardhitter, Hon Dozie Nwankwo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the ruling party in the State.

Until the present court verdict, Umeh was one of the top contenders to the coveted Anambra Central Senatorial seat in the fast approaching February 25 general election. He was facing a battery of lawsuits over his candidature, due to the way and manner of his emergence.

While a member of his LP, Chief Solomon Onyekwelu, a senatorial aspirant who claimed he was not given opportunity to prove his popularity in the primary, was dragging him from within the party, Ekwunife, was fighting him from outside.

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Ekwunife is seeking an unprecedented third term reelection into the Red Chamber which only very few had attained nationwide. This was in addition to having spent two terms in the Green Chambers earlier. Little wonder many wanted her to willingly step aside to allow a new more active person take over, to avoid monotony, lethargy and rustiness that they claimed have visibly set in already; with the repetition of words and acts, lacking new ideas, creativity and initiatives. Many believe it would be sad for her to be pushed out through election defeat.

SEE ALSO:  NLC rejects Abure's re-election as Labour Party chairman, says it's an illegality

But in all these, the APGA candidate, Nwankwo who was described as being on ground with citizens of the area, and burning with desire to impress the constituents is standing by and ready to step in.

The trio have been at it together before now and tested and known each other’s political strength, antics and tactics.

There was also Chief Kodilichukwu Okelekwe of the All Progressives Congress(APC). However it was a bit difficult to decipher why he joined the race.

Because as an experienced political tactician, it was glaring that he has other motives other than victory, that brought him into the race. Surprisingly he surrounded himself with the wrong set of helpers and aides. And apart from the recent NUJ media debate, no one really believed he was contesting.

According to details of the verdict in the suit No FHC/AWK/CS/155/2022 which came vide originating summons brought by the People’s Democratic Party and Senator Uche Ekwunife, as plaintiffs on Sept 30,2022, represented by B.E.I.Nwofor (SAN), leading other lawyers against the LP, Umeh and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), represented by Alex Ejesieme (SAN), and other lawyers for LP; P.I.N. Ikwueto (SAN), and others, for Umeh, while E.E. Udeh represented INEC as the defendants, Umeh was accused of being a registered member of APGA, and not a member of LP as at the time of picking the senatorial ticket. That he contested for primary in APGA held on 28 May, 2022 before carpet- crossing to LP perhaps without tidying up his documentations.

That he apparently moved over a little bit too quickly to pick the LP ticket even while his name was still sitting pretty at the top of his Aguluzoigbo Ward of APGA membership register. That by inference he was not a member of LP as at the day he claimed to have won and secured the senatorial ticket.

So, Hon Justice Nganjiwa on Jan 27 in his judgement declared that the INEC acted in breach of the provisions of Sec 29(1), 82(5) and 84(13)of the Electoral Act 2022, by publishing a statement on 20/9/22 at its offices at Awka which included the name of the second defendant (Umeh)as a candidate standing nominated by the 1st defendant to contest senatorial election for the Anambra Central Senatorial District scheduled to hold on Feb 25,2023. Also that the LP having failed to comply with the provisions of Sections 29(1), 77(3), 82(1)(2)(4)(b)(c), 5(c)(I)(ii), 8(9)(11) of the Electoral Act Article 27 paragraph 5 of LP Constitution and its Guidelines for primary election.

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An order of injunction was also made restraining LP and Umeh from parading or campaigning as a candidate whatsoever for the Feb 25,2023 Anambra Central senatorial election. INEC was also restrained from accepting or recognizing, treating Umeh as a nominated candidate of LP for the purpose of contesting the Anambra Central senatorial election on Feb 25,2023 and from including his names, logo and emblem of LP and Umeh on the ballot paper for the said election.

SEE ALSO:  El-Rufai reveals how Governors usually write election results instead of conducting election

In the second suit ref FHC/AWK/CS/156/2022 brought against Umeh by Onyekwelu, LP and INEC, it was ruled in the judgement by Justice Nganjiwa dismissed on the ground that it lacked locus since there was nothing to hold on, as Umeh has been found to be an interloper who got a ticket without being member of the party.

In reaction, the plaintiff expressed intentions to sue LP and Umeh for recovery of his Expression of Interest/Nomination fees and other exemplary damages since he was never allowed to participate in any primary.

Sadly, political pundits while acknowledging the beauty of the addition of knowledge through the suit to the nation’s jurisprudence, it hurts that the presidential candidate of the LP, HE Peter Obi may actually be the original target of the whole matter.

Therefore leaves sour taste in the mouth that Ekwunife was the main litigant in the suit against Obi’s LP considering the close affinity between them before now. More so, she has spent about two decades at the National Assembly and clearly stands a good chance of clinching a plum position under an Obi presidency. It was also touted she was eyeing the Senate top job, should she return to the red Chambers of the National Assembly. Consequently she would fight with everything at her disposal to ensure a win.

Rev Fr Isidore Okoye who spoke to journalists in Awka yesterday demanded to know which school of lawmaking Ekwunife went to gather experience when she made her first entry into politics and NASS for her to describe Obi as kindergarten.

This brand of politics hurts, really hurts!

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Politics

Ex-Imo gov, Emeka Ihedioha resigns from PDP

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Ex-Imo gov, Emeka Ihedioha resigns from PDP
Emeka Ihedioha

A former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, has resigned his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

In his resignation letter addressed to the PDP chairman in Mbutu Ward, Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of the state, Ihedioha cited a misalignment between his personal beliefs and the current trajectory of the main opposition party.

The former governor expressed his dedication to the advancement of democracy and good governance in the country despite his decision to step away from PDP.

According to Ihedioha, having been a member of the party since its inception in 1998, he has contributed immensely to the growth and evolution of the party.

The former governor, however, lamented recent developments within the PDP, stating that it has deviated from its core principles.

He voiced concerns over the party’s inability to enact internal reforms, uphold its own regulations, and effectively oppose the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

“Regrettably, in recent times, the party has taken on a path that is at variance with my personal beliefs. Despite my attempt to offer counsel, the party is, sadly, no longer able to carry out internal reforms, enforce its own rules or offer credible opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress.’

“It is in the light of the foregoing, that I am compelled to offer my resignation from the People’s Democratic Party effective immediately.

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“While the decision was difficult to take, I, however, believe that it is the right one. Despite this resignation, I will always be available to offer my services towards the deepening of democracy and good governance in Nigeria”, the letter added.

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SEE ALSO:  El-Rufai reveals how Governors usually write election results instead of conducting election
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Protest breaks out in Ondo over APC Gov Primary

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Protest breaks out in Ondo over APC Gov Primary
• Protesters demand cancellation of APC ward primaries in Ondo State on Sunday, April 21, 2024

Some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akure, the Ondo State capital, took to the streets on Sunday to protest what they termed irregularities and biased conduct of the ward primaries across the state on Saturday.

The ward primaries meant to produce the governorship candidate of the party for the November 16, 2024 governorship election in the state has been marred with non-availability of election materials.

The protesters called for the cancellation of the ward primaries.

The protesters stormed the APC state secretariat in Akure to display their displeasure to the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the ward primaries across the 203 wards of the state.

Most of them are supporters of one of the aspirants, Olushola Oke, and they carried different placards calling on the national secretariat to remove the chairman of the primary election committee and Kogi State Governor, Usman Ododo.

They described the process as a daylight robbery and urged the national secretariat of the APC not to allow the state to be embroiled in crisis.

One of the protesters claimed no ward primaries were held, insisting that the guidelines given by the national secretariat of the party were not followed as the committee did not distribute materials to any wards.

The party members warned of likely consequences if an unpopular candidate is imposed on them as it could affect the chances of the party in the governorship election.

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Ododo had on Saturday announced that polls would be conducted in all 13 wards of Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state by noon on Sunday.

SEE ALSO:  NLC rejects Abure's re-election as Labour Party chairman, says it's an illegality

“Having received reports of the primary election from the 203 wards in the 18 local governments of Ondo State, the primary election committee has decided that election will be conducted in all the 13 Wards of Okitipupa local government with total validated registered members of 9,515, because of validated reports that the exercise did not hold in the local government due to late arrival of materials and personnel as a result of logistics challenges.

“Election in Okitipupa local government shall be conducted 12 noon on Sunday 21st April 2024. The final collation of the results will be done thereafter,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, two aspirants and agents of two other contestants raised concerns about the conduct of the primary.

They alleged that based on the conduct of the exercise, plans were made to favour certain aspirants.

Olugbenga Edema, who is one of the 16 aspirants in the race for the APC ticket, decried delays in the distribution of materials and called on the party to investigate the process.

Rotimi Williams, the agent of Oke, took a similar position.

Shola Ajisafe, the agent of Adewale Akinterinwa, backed the narrative by Edema and Willams.

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“My people have been calling me. No material has been distributed to them,” Ajisafe who is from Ondo North said, accusing Governor Ododo of working in favour of a candidate. (Channelstv)

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PDP caucus backs Damagum to continue as Acting National Chair

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PDP caucus backs Damagum to continue as Acting National Chair
• PDP National Chairman Umar Damagum
The current acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Umar Damagum, will continue in that capacity until another National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that will hold after the one slated for today, Thursday April 18, 2024.

This formed part of the resolution of the PDP caucus meeting on Wednesday night.

PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, said the caucus resolved that all reconciliation committees of the party be reconstituted to resolve grievances affecting the unity of the party.

Asked what the caucus discussed about issues regarding the party’s chairmanship position, he said it is an issue that the NEC of the party will discuss but said the organ resolved that Damagum continue as chairman till the next NEC after today’s.

The meeting was attended by the former Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike; and the 2023 presidential flag bearer of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.

Damagum is suspected to be an ally of Wike, who is the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The caucus also directed that the party should revisit the Rivers State Caretaker Committee List, and find a political solution to the crisis in the state.

The caucus meeting held less than 24 hours to theNEC meeting of the party, which has been scheduled for today (April 18, 2024) to discus issues regarding the leadership of the party and also to ractify decisions by various organs of the party.

The PDP is facing a leadership crisis, with members urging the resignation of the Damagum-led NEC. Meetings like the NEC and the party’s Board of Trustees have been arranged to address these issues.

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Meanwhile, Senator Iyorcha Ayu has withdrew his appeal, which sought to challenge his removal as the party’s national chairman. His move is also believed to be connected with the party’s upcoming National Executive Meeting.

SEE ALSO:  NLC rejects Abure's re-election as Labour Party chairman, says it's an illegality

Ayu was suspended by the executive committee of the PDP in Igyorov ward in the Gboko Local Government Area of Kogi State in 2023 over alleged anti-party activities but he had approached the court to challenge his removal.

However, a Federal High Court in June last year affirmed the decision of the party to sack Senator Ayu, a judgement that led to an appeal, which he has now withdrawn.

FULL TEXT: Communique Issued At End Of PDP NEC Meeting

Communique Issued at the end of the 98th Meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Today, Thursday, April 18, 2024.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great Party, at its 98th meeting today, Thursday, April 18, 2024, thoroughly assessed the State of affairs of the Nation and the Party and resolved as follows:

1. NEC commends all the Organs of the Party for their collective resilience, steadfastness and commitment towards the unity, stability and sustenance of our great Party despite dauting challenges.

2. NEC also commends members of the PDP, with particular reference to the youths and women for their courage in resisting the antics of the divisive and anti-people All Progressives Congress (APC), especially, its desperation to emasculate the opposition and foist a one-Party State on our nation.

3. NEC expresses concern over the ill-implemented policies of the insensitive APC administration, leading to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country.

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4. NEC expresses serious apprehensions over the spate of acts of terrorism and violence including the escalated cases of mindless killings, mass abduction of innocent Nigerians and marauding of communities in various parts of the country.

SEE ALSO:  Labour Party reserves 2027 Presidential ticket for Peter Obi, Abia Gov ticket for Otti

5. NEC condemns the insensitivity, nonchalance, incompetence and arrogance in failure of the APC administration which continues to conduct itself in a manner that shows that it has no iota of interest or commitment towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.

6. NEC also condemns the creeping totalitarianism and tendencies towards a One-Party State which is inimical to the peace, stability and corporate existence of our nation as well as the development of Democracy and good governance in the country.

7. NEC, after due consideration demands that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should urgently convene a special National Security Council meeting to proffer a holistic solution and measures to curb the disturbing insecurity with its attendant negative consequences on our national life.

8. NEC also demands that President Tinubu should immediately rejig his Economic Team to bring in persons of proven integrity and competence without bias and vested interest to assist in repositioning the economy.

9. NEC further demands that the Federal Government should review all policies and programmes which are stifling the economy with suffocating effect on the lives of citizens; including the increase in price of fuel without cushioning measures, hike in electricity tariff, increased taxation and implementation of adverse fiscal policies.

10. NEC charges all Organs, leaders, critical stakeholders and indeed all members of the PDP to close ranks, put aside every personal or group interests and work together in the overall effort to reposition and return the PDP to power at the center in the interest of the Nigerian people.

11. Consequently, NEC received and approved the Timetable for Party Congresses across the country.

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12. NEC also approved the Reconstitution of the Party Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure the stability of the Party.

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13. Similarly, NEC approved the extension of the life of the Party Constitution Amendment Committee to allow it to receive new amendment proposals for inclusion in its deliberation and final report for consideration by NEC.

14. NEC commended the efforts of the National Working Committee in its effort towards rebranding the Party including the new look PDP Logo which is widely accepted by Party members and Nigerians in general.

15. NEC charges all Party members to continue to work together for the success of the PDP for the benefit of Nigerians and sustenance of Democracy in our country.

Thank you for listening.

Hon. Debo Ologunagba
National Publicity Secretary

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