[From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki]
Chairman of the now-dissolved State Executive Committee (SWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State, Barrister Onyekachi Nwebonyi, Wednesday, declared the purported dissolution of the chapter by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party as unconstitutional, null and void.
It would be recalled that that few hours after Governor David Umahi announced his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday, the national leadership of the party in a press statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan dissolved ward, local government and state executive committees of the PDP in Ebonyi State.
Earlier Wednesday, the PDP NWC appointed State Caretaker Committee to run the affairs of the party in the State.
The party also announced the dissolution of the zonal leadership of PDP in Southeast Nigeria.
Nwebonyi, while briefing journalists on Wednesday in his office at PDP Secretariat along Enugu/Abakaliki expressway, alongside other members of the State EXCO, said it was laughable for the NWC to make such a pronouncement, because of Umahi or few individuals who wanted to leave the party.
He vowed that the PDP EXCO under his leadership would continue to pilot the affairs of the party in the State till 2024 when they must have served out their tenure.
He added that the State PDP Executives under his leadership would battle the national leadership of the party in the court, if dare take any action against their positions as members of the State executives of the PDP.
According to him, rather than paying attention to the issues raised and our demand to that effect, particularly the zoning of the presidential ticket to the Southeast, the National Working Committee of the party focused on Governor David Umahi’s contemplated defection to the APC.
He urged the PDP to zone the presidential ticket of the party to the Southeast with or without Governor Umahi.
“My attention has been drawn to a press release by the national publicity secretary of the PDP that the National Working Committee of the PDP has dissolved the Ward, Local Government, and the State Executive Committees of the party in Ebonyi State because of Governor David Umahi’s planned defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“It is laughable to think that the NWC would just get up and dissolve a state executive committee because the governor or a few individuals want to leave the party. We are in charge of the party in Ebonyi State for the next four years having been duly elected for a four year term recently. Our tenure will elapse in 2024 and nobody has the power to dissolve the state executives.
“When we got the hint that the governor wants to defect to the APC, we made frantic effort to make him think otherwise, as also did the NWC, but he has stood his ground. He had planned to ceremonially join the APC but our efforts to get him reconsider the move has made him put it on hold hitherto.
“It could be recalled that on October 20th, 2020, the Ebonyi State Working Committee of the PDP made a press release in which sensitive issues regarding the growth and sustenance of the party were touched. We restated our resolve to work assiduously to deliver our party at the polls in 2023 as we have always done, if justice, equity, and fairness would be maintained in the party. We pledged unalloyed support to the party and its leadership under Prince Uche Secondus.
“Prominent among the issues raised was the zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket of the PDP to the Southeast Geopolitical Zone, as the party has marginalized the zone since 1999. That was the main reason the governor gave for his intention to leave the party when we approached him. We therefore demanded that the National Executive Committee Meeting of the be convened within a week to address the issue.
“Rather than paying attention to the issues raised and our demand to that effect, particularly the zoning of the presidential ticket to the Southeast, the National Working Committee of the party focused on Governor David Umahi’s contemplated defection to the APC.
“It is four weeks now and nothing tangible has been done to the effect of the issues raised.
It is evident that some overlords in the party are clandestinely scheming to turn the table in contravention of the party’s tradition of zoning to serve their personal interests.
“The real concern of genuine party leaders should be the interest of the members of the component units of the party, while the focus is on power. In a situation where the concern has been relinquished to inordinate quest for power, things would go awry. It is no easy situation where the party will be losing a prominent stakeholder like a sitting governor. Governor Umahi, without doubt, has performed above board.
“As we the state executives of the party had been making frantic effort to get the governor jettison his plan to dump the party which has given him the highest political fortune, we have been reaching out to the party faithful to remain undaunted and steadfast. Certainly, we cannot leave a house we have built and become tenants elsewhere.
“It therefore goes against the party’s constitution for the National Working Committee to dissolve an elected state executive because the governor defects from the party. We were duely elected in line with the party’s constitution, and any action on the state executives must conform with the provisions of the PDP constitution.
“While the leadership of the PDP in Ebonyi State cannot accept any plan to scheme the Southeast out of the 2023 presidential equation, we will prefer dialogue to dumping the party. The NWC has stated that it is too early to start the issue of zoning now, but then, they should make hay while the sun shines. At other times, the issue of zoning had always got underway by this period.
“We therefore call on the national leadership of our party to do the needful now. We will continue to impress it on the party to zone the presidential ticket to the Southeast in 2023 with or without Governor Umahi”.