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Enugu LG poll: Aninri PDP members reject chair candidate

…Fingers Ekweremadu

From: Chidi Nnadi, Enugu

Protesters under the aegis of Aninri People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Concerned Members, o Thursday, stormed the Enugu State Government House to protest the emergence of Mr. Ezekiel Chukwu as the council’s party chairmanship candidate in the scheduled November 4 poll.

The protesters, who carried placards and stopped briefly at the Okpara Square to address newsmen before heading for the Government House, accused Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu of imposing Chukwu on them.

Some of their placards read: ‘This imposition will kill Aninri’, ‘Redeem your image Your Excellency’, and ‘Imposition will lead to mass defection to APC.’

Leader of the group, Mr. Marcel Anayochukwu, who addressed newsmen, alleged that Sen. Ekweremadu unilaterally imposed a non-party member on them as candidate, saying that the action was causing uproar in Aninri.

Anayochukwu maintained that the PDP was on the verge of losing its popularity in the area as many party faithful have started joining the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of the imposition.

He said that the intervention of the state governor was urgently needed to calm frayed nerves and bring the situation under control.

“I do not know why Ekweremadu would do this to us. He wants to make somebody who has no party card a local government chairman,” he said.

Anayochukwu disclosed that they had met with the deputy senate president on the issue and he promised to look into the matter.

In the letter they handed over to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi they said: “We are the concerned members of our great party in Aninri Local Government Area. We stand for justice and abhor the rain of impunity, recklessness and imposition which hitherto characterized the doing of business, especially primary elections by our great party.

“We know you are God-sent to us and will always stand for justice, equity and fair play. We are once again constrained to write to you with call for the replacement of Mr Ezekiel Onyekwelu Chukwu who is not qualified to be the flag bearer of our great party in Aninri LGA during this forthcoming council election.

“As your strong supporters and loyal party men and women from Aninri having maintained a winning streak for our party in our area, since 1999, we will not want to suffer any defeat by the opposition, or any decamping to APC by our members to register their grievances.”

They claimed that from the Oduma Ward 3, Ezinesi register and minutes of the meetings of the ward it was clear that Mr Chukwu “was never a member of our party nor attended any of our party’s meeting or functions.”

They also said that Chukwu, “has not applied for or nor obtained any waiver of any kind from our party, as this is the only remedy to cure this deficiency.”

They, therefore, implored Governor Ugwuanyi to ask the party leaders in the council to hearken to the voice of the people and cancel the emergence of Chukwu.

Reacting to the claims by the protesters, the Special Adviser to Sen. Ekweremadu on Political Matters, Dr. Godwin Udeuhele, said his principal did not impose any candidate on his people.

Udeuhele said that the said candidate emerged through a consensus, adding that Ekweremadu was simply playing his role as a father in Enugu West Senatorial Zone.

“Ekweremadu is a democrat and cannot impose a candidate. He is playing the role he does in the entire zone,” he said.

The former commissioner for information in Enugu State said there were two contestants to the position but the favoured candidate emerged.

When contacted on phone, Chukwu declined comments, saying that he would call back, which he did not fulfill.

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