2023: Ekweremadu alleges plot to scuttle governorship ambition, as Ebonyi aspirant accuses Umahi of mismanagement


[From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki]

Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu and incumbent senator representing Enugu West Senatorial district, has alleged plots by some political forces he described as ‘enemy of democracy’ to use the law courts to stop his 2023 governorship ambition.

Ike Ekweremadu

Ekweremadu, in a statement made available to Journalists in Enugu, Sunday, by the Director General Ikeoha Campaign Organisation, Hon Charles Ogbo Asogwa, said part of the move was to obtain an injunction barring him from contesting the Enugu state governorship election.

The former deputy speaker is contesting the Enugu State Governorship election on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The statement called on the Chief Judge of Enugu State, the National Judicial Council, and the Chief Justice of Nigeria to note what he termed “latest effort to bring this revered arm of government to disrepute.”

The statement reads: “It has come to our knowledge the plots by enemies of peace, democracy, and Enugu State to use the courts to stop the aspiration of Senator Ike Ekweremadu to the governorship seat of Enugu State.

“We have in our possession, court processes (herewith attached) already filed at the Enugu State High Court, with the aim of using the Enugu State Judiciary to obtain an injunction barring the Senator from contesting the Enugu State gubernatorial election.

“In the suit marked E/254/2022 with Ekweremadu as the Respondent, the Applicant, Chief Oforma Mbannaji from Nike (For himself and on behalf of other members of Enugu East Senatorial District, Enugu State) wants the former Deputy President of the Senate stopped based on a zoning agreement supposedly reached at an expanded Caucus meeting of the Enugu State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on 7th July 2013).

“The matter filed by the Applicant’s counsel, Dr. Peter Aneke, who also hails from Nike, will be heard by Justice Harold Eya on April 28, 2022.

“Sadly, this is yet another display of unmitigated and unconscionable desperation by a people hell-bent on ridiculing and desecrating virtually all critical institutions of democracy just to stop Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s aspiration and impose their lackeys and relations on the people of Enugu State.

“However, the current attempt to also drag the Enugu State and Nigerian judiciary into their plots is the height of it and one that the Enugu State Judiciary, the Nigerian Judiciary, the National Judicial Council, and the Chief Justice of Nigeria must never allow to happen,” he says

“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no such organ as an Expanded Caucus in the PDP Constitution and local government chairmen are not members of the State Caucus. Therefore, the purported meeting could not have been a Caucus meeting of our great party. In any case, it is not the business of the Caucus under the PDP Constitution to zone elective offices.

“More importantly, the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 expressly exclude the State High Courts from matters pertaining to State House of Assembly, governorship, National Assembly, and presidential elections.

“So, this is evidently an evil, meretricious, and baseless plot to use the judiciary to abort the popular will of the people by manipulating the course of democracy to obtain from that revered arm of government what they cannot obtain in a free and fair contest.

“Meanwhile, we wish to restate that no amount of intimidation, attacks, and detention of the supporters and political associates of Senator Ekweremadu; appointment and “election” of known deadly thugs and cultists into state and local government offices; nocturnal meetings and fetish practices; procured press conferences and publications; and certainly no amount of frivolous court processes can stop an idea which time has come.

It would be recalled that the expanded PDP stakeholders meeting of supporters and political associates of Senator Like Ekweremadu in Aninri and Nsukka LGAs of Enugu State turned bloody as several people got injured following the invasion of the meeting by thugs.

It was gathered that political thugs who invaded the venues of the meeting had a filled day, as they used bottles, chairs and other weapons to attack everybody on sight.

The incident took place Saturday evening.

Reacting, the former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, condemned the violence at Aninri Local Government Area (LGA) PDP meeting.

He disclosed that the attack was on his political supporters and associates.

Ekweremadu who spoke through a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, on Sunday,  said: “I received with utmost sadness the news of the violence that marred the expanded stakeholders meeting of the Peoples Democratic, PDP, in Aninri LGA at the weekend, as well as the brutal attack on my supporters and associates at the said meeting.

“The attack, which left many, including the Member representing Aninri State Constituency in the Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Chinedu Okwu, critically injured and hospitalised, is at variance with the peace-loving nature of Aninri. Therefore, I condemn in strongest terms this attempt to stoke fire and political violence in our LGA.

“I also condemn any attempt to pollute the processes leading up to the 2023 elections in Enugu State with acts of political intolerance, intimidation, violence, and destruction of lives and property. That is not what Ndi Enugu, the Waawa people, are known for.

In a related development, governorship aspirant in Ebonyi State on platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023 general election, Hon. Anayo Edwin Nwonu, has accused Governor David Umahi of maladministration.

He alleged that many schools and hospitals were no longer functional in the state.

Nwonu who is representing Ezza North/Ishielu federal constituency in the House of Representatives, expressed worry the security situation in the state, especially communal crisis which according to him, has led to loss of many lives with properties worth billions of naira destroyed.

The Chairman, House Committee on Reformatory Institutions spoke in Abakaliki at the weekend, the state capital while addressing thousands of his supporters during his formal declaration to contest the 2023 governorship and opening of his campaign office.

He noted that he was running the election to rescue the state and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

He said: “There is no reason why civil servants should not enjoy living salary and regular promotion and why our retirees should not receive their pensions and gratuities as at when due.

“There is no reason why there should be no employment to fill existing vacancies in the state civil service when there are many unemployed Ebonyians roaming the streets.

“There is no reason why lecturers should be denied their legitimate entitlements or health workers not paid what is professionally due to them.

“I am aware of the harsh of the harsh taxation in Ebonyi State. I am also aware of the agony and suffering confronting many of those displaced with the relocation of Abakpa market and demolition of the building material  market at Spera-in Deo.

“I am fully aware too that many schools and hospitals are not functioning and that there is urgent need for qualified staff in our schools and health institutions.

“I know that many of our brothers and children are not in school because their parents could not afford to pay their school fees and they resort to street hawking to make ends meet.

“I know that there is hunger in our state. I know that many families go to bed without food. I am aware of the insecurity in our State and the attendant communal crises”, he stated.

Nwonu vowed to declare state of emergency on job creation, education, health, social investment and security immediately if elected the Governor of Ebonyi State in 2023.