EBONYI PDP: When common sense is not common By Clem Aguiyi

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Email: totalpolitics@ymail.com

Lack of common sense is one of the reasons why people make mistakes and live to regret them.
When PDP elected Prof Iyoricha Ayu as National Chairman , expectations were reasonably high, at-least people felt relieved that the days of the locust are over. But recent events especially the way the party has managed the crisis in Ebonyi leaves one wondering if there is something in WADATA House that eats human brains. What’s the common sense in PDP repeating the same mistakes thinking they would be right?

When I saw the Ebonyi PDP crisis developing, I saw ego at play. I saw the same impunity and arrogance that had destroyed the party in the past. I was concerned enough to reach out to the National Chairman and the National Secretary. I reached out to the Ebonyi State Chairman of the party, some stake holders like the former President of the Senate, and the State’s first elected governor who is currently a sitting senator.

I did this trouble shooting not because I am a card-carrying member of PDP or that of any political party for that matter but because I wish PDP well, the same way that I wish APC well. I prayed that they get it right because any of the two political party has the potential of producing the next president, governors , senators and honorable members. I worry about them because consequences of their failures will not isolate and deal harshly with them and their generations only, but will affect all of us including the innocents. That’s why the Holy Book enjoined us to pray for our leaders and bless our land.

In Ebonyi crisis , I saw a pathway that would resolve the crisis. I had thought that the leaders I was engaging had the common sense to see the same pathway. I had hoped they would set aside their ego and understand that what makes great politicians is the ability to find political solutions to political problems. I honestly expected PDP not to repeat the same mistake made by APC in Zamfara. I urged them to avert their mind to Section 84(1) of the Electoral Act which provides that : ‘Any political party seeking to nominate candidates for election under this Act shall hold primaries for aspirants to elective positions which must be monitored by the Commission’.

In a letter to all the political parties including PDP dated May 25, 2022 , INEC reiterated this Section 84(1) and emphasized that the Commission shall in monitoring the primary elections only recognize delegates that emerged from congresses duly monitored by the commission.

He whom the gods want to kill , it will first infest with madness, otherwise why would PDP National Working Committee overlook this black and white letter law simply because some influential members of the party are frightened by 45 years old Dr Chukwuma Ifeanyi Odii who emerged in the primary election conducted on May 29, 2022 as the PDP flag bearer for Ebonyi State.

The congress that produced Chukwuma Odii as a candidate was conducted by a committee established by the PDP National Working Committee and monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies. The primary was beamed live on national televisions, precisely African Independent Television (AIT) and Channels TV. Rotimi Olalekan who doubled as the Secretary and chairman of the committee that conducted the primary certified the election to be free , fair, open and transparent.

Rather than embrace the winner, some influential stakeholders connected to WADATA House Abuja, dictated to the NWC to belatedly announce the suspension of all primaries in the state. When reminded that it cannot suspend an exercise that has been concluded, the NWC turned around to declare that the primary election has been cancelled. They don’t have such power especially when done without basis. Again, need I remind the compromised NWC that when a matter is before the court, only the court can adjudicate on it. PDP and INEC were validly put on notice and served with a subsisting court order restraining the party from conducting any other congress other than the congress conducted on May 29 and monitored by INEC in accordance with Section 84 (1) of the Electoral Act. But rather respect the rule of law the National Chairman decided to flout court order. He currently risk contempt of court. I reminded him that the decision to cancel a successful primary election and conduct a fresh election on the 4thand 5thof June is ill advised and would be a nullity. On Tuesday June 7, 2022 a Federal High Court sitting in Abakiliki affirmed my position. It nullified the rescheduled primary. Justice Fatun Roman in his ruling upheld the primary of 28thand 29thMay 2022, which was cancelled by the National Working Committee. The court also restrained PDP from refusing to receive and transmit the name of Ifeanyi Odii as the candidate who won the governorship primaries as the candidate of the party for Ebonyi 2023 governorship election. Common sense is not common because you have to deal with people lacking in common sense but too full of themselves.

If PDP wants to wrestle power from APC in 2023 which is important that they do , their only pathway to victory is to put individual ego and selfish interest aside and embrace peace. Instead of internal wrangling they should unite and face the challenges posed by APC in states like Ebonyi. Already the party’s congress that was duly monitored by INEC on May 29 , 2022 produced a candidate that is sure footed, formidable and courageous; a candidate who will not be a parasite on the party , and that candidate is Dr Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii . Those elders frightened by his emergence should perish their fears. Ifeanyi is a good man who will honor and respect them.

I have heard various arguments against the gentleman, most of which does not hold any water. In this article I will address two of the often-repeated false arguments among which are that the primary held on Sunday May 29, 2022 was marked by irregularities and the issue of zoning.

On the issue of irregularities: There is no substance in this as neither the reports of the Ebonyi PDP gubernatorial committee nor INEC or any of the security agencies that monitored the primary election reported irregularities or any breach of peace. In-fact, Rotimi Olalekan who led the Ebonyi State Gubernatorial Election Committee reported that the election was free, fair, transparent and conducted in the open. Where then, did PDP NWC manufacture the report of irregularities from?

On the vexed issue of zoning: Though not constitutional zoning or rotation was not intended to be a permanent feature of our democracy but an ad-hoc arrangement to redress and compensate for imbalance in power sharing. It’s my understanding that all the three senatorial zones in Ebonyi have variously produced a governor from 1999 to date. If this is correct, then the issue of zoning becomes irrelevant and cannot stand against merit and competence. More so, PDP in Ebonyi is in opposition and cannot be zoning a power it doesn’t have. This is like pricing a monkey on the tree top. This was the same principle and logic advanced by PDP and Prof Ayu in throwing the presidential election open rather than zone to the South. Where then is the common sense in not applying the same principle in Ebonyi State whereby we win the power first and then share or rotate afterwards. The zoning argument is weak just like the allegation of irregularities were unfounded.

Having interacted with people from across Ebonyi State, I dare say that people’s problems are the same ; what the people want is a leader with the fear of God and human sympathy. What they want is someone that understand their basic needs, someone who will create an enabling environment for prosperous economy; someone who will provide the kind of education that will enable them fit into the economy; someone who understand that they need jobs when they can be employed; someone who understands they need to be paid for works they have done, and that when they retire, they retire with respect and dignity; they want when they are sick to be able to go to a good hospital at affordable cost; they want to live in peace, safety and security.

The Chukwuma Odii that I know is humble, respectful and God fearing. He is a man that understands the basic needs of the people and these are what drives his ambition and interest in politics. As an individual he has done so much giving back to the society. His quest for political office is only to enable him do more for the people.

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