George Onyejiuwa, Owerri

The ex-chairman of the Imo State People’s Democratic Party, Chief Charles Babatunde Ezekwem has said that his contributions to the victory of the party in 2019 general elections was never appreciated as he was treated as a stranger in a ruling government he was the party’s chairman.

This was even as he has denied joining the All Progressives Congress or any other political party as is being speculated in the state.

He also dismissed the claim in some quarters that he had resigned from the party in order to retain the chairmanship of the state-owned Heartland Football Club.

Recall that Charles Ezekwem had on Monday resigned as the chairman and from the party.

Ezekwem who stated this at a press conference in Owerri, said that his decision to quit his chairmanship position and the party was borne out of the deliberate policy by a cabal which was loyal to ex-Governor Emeka Ihedioha to shut him out of the activities of the government, stressing that even decisions concerning the party which he was the chairman were in most cases taken without his knowledge.

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He said that it was under his chairmanship of the state PDP that restored the confidence of the people in the party and that he had also conducted the freest and fair primary elections which had led to the overall victory of the party in the 2019.

According to him, “after the victory of the party in the 2019 gubernatorial election, I began to see the signs that I was no longer wanted in the party; and most sensitive meetings called by the government I was never invited. Even when I attend public functions organised by the state government, I was not given a seat and it was as bad as that. Do you know that even as the state party chairman, decisions concerning the party were taken without my knowledge?”

The Deputy Governor, Hon Gerald Irona had sacked some LGA party chairmen whom he said did not support them without my knowledge as the chairman of the party, but I disagreed with that. Even the deputy governor never picked my calls as the chairman of the party even when I was instrumental in making him the running mate to ex-Governor Emeka Ihedioha.”

Ezekwem further alleged that he was being blackmailed by the supporters of ex- Governor Ihedioha who had wanted him out of the party at all cost with the tacit backing of the ex-governor.

“The few persons who had constituted themselves into a cabal who do not want me in the party were acting on behalf of the ex-governor. Two months ago, it was speculated after the Supreme Court judgment that I would be removed. My tenure would have ended in August, but they did not want me to conduct the party’s congress which is this March 2020, and even two days to the Supreme Court judgment, they had already asked somebody to take over. I was like a stranger in the party which I helped to victory and the best for me was simply to resign.”