Former Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu’s governorship aspiration may have hit a brick wall following his rejection by the Ebonyi state caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives.
The group voiced strong opposition to the ambition of the former minister and described the processes that led to his selection as ‘unacceptable illegality’, adding that the party stands to lose should Chukwu be imposed on the people of Ebonyi state.
The group also warned against an alleged plot by the Ebonyi state governor, Martin Elechi, to “retire” the National Assembly caucus through underhand methods.
Leader of the group, Sylvester Ogbaga, alleged that the governor had unilaterally ‘anointed’ an aspirants, embarking on wider consultation with cross sections of opinion moulders and stakeholders, to determine the acceptability of the candidates in question, adding that the on-going party primaries has almost been turned into a charred.
“The Governor assembled a hand-picked group of persons under the guise of the Old Abakaliki bloc and unilaterally announced the former Health Minister, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu as the consensus governorship candidate for the Ebonyi PDP.
“We are aware that no true attempt at consensus building was undertaken, and no consensus has been achieved on the issue even as we speak. For instance, no attempt was made or has been made to consult with the National Assembly caucus, the state Assembly caucus, traditional Institution and other such critical stakeholder groups in the state,” he said.
Linus Okorie, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, expressed displeasure with the Governor’s lack of caution and foresight in the matter stressing that act was in all ramifications a breach of the avowed commitment to equity, fairness and the rules of law and the party’s extant guidelines for the primaries.
He accused the governor of manipulating the conduct of the delegates congress by introducing infractions, adding the members of the House found that they have all been collectively ‘retired’ and replaced by appointees of Elechi.
He regretted that in spite of being elected representatives of the people who should even have automatic ticket to the congress, they systematically schemed out in “allocation of delegates forms” the governor introduced.
“What manifested was the wholesale hand over of the delegate forms to ‘anointed aspirants’, to whom our different seats had already been allocated even before the primaries”, he alleged.
Okorie disassociated the caucus from the “illegality” and explained that the imposition was a crass abuse of the party’s constitution and approved guidelines for the primaries. “The approved guidelines were undertaken to circumvent the process, manipulate the delegates’ list and subsequently proceed to return a set of pre-determined candidates for the various positions under the party without genuine and credible primaries,” he said.
He appealed to all organs of the party to remain on the alert to ensure that all PDP candidates in Ebonyi state emerge through credible primaries achieved through adherence to the party constitution, extant guidelines and approved processes and procedure.