Commission snubs ruling party’s request to recognize its preference as its chairman in the state.
The discord between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over who chairs the ruling party in Anambra State has deepened at the weekend as the Commission insisted that it would continue to recognize Ejike Ogbubego for the position, despite the party’s preference for Ken Emeakayi.
In letter dated August 11 and signed by U. F. Usman on behalf of its Secretary, INEC said it did not monitor the congress that threw up Mr Emeakayi as the Chairman of PDP in the state neither was it aware of any court judgement which replaced Mr Ogbuebego with him (Emeakayi), more so when it was not a party to the suit.
The letter was addressed to the Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Chibudom Nwuche. The substantive National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur is in Saudi Arabia performing the lesser hajj.
Mr Chibudom Nwuche had, in a letter dated July 31 asked INEC to relate with Mr Emeakayi as the party’s chairman in Anambra State.
The party leaders also met with the officials of the Commission over the matter on August 6.
It was gathered that the request of the party was based on the suspicion that Mr Ogbuebego is a loyalist of one of the governorship aspirants in Anambra State, Andy Ubah, who is a senator and also chairs the Senate Committee on INEC.
The PDP will pick its candidate at its congress in the state on August 24.
In the Sunday’s letter, the Commission explained that it monitored the state congress of the PDP in Anambra State in 2010 which produced Emma Nweze as the chairman of the party in the state, but who later resigned the position, adding that it did not have any record of Mr Emeakayi suddenly emerging as the chairman.
The Commission also recalled that in March 2012, the PDP conducted another congress in Amanbra State at which Mr Ogbuebego was elected as state chairman of the party.
INEC said, “Both PDP and the Commission continued to accord recognition to Ejike Ogbuebego as state chairman of the party in Anambra State until the Commission received the letter of the Acting National Chairman on 31st July, 2013.
“The Commission notes with abhorrence the deliberate concealment of the judgement of the Federal Capital Territory High Court delivered on 5th of July, 2012 in Suit No FCT/HC/CV/2631/2012 between Emma Mbamalu and Peoples Democratic Party by which the court declared the Ward, Local Government and State Congress held in March 2012 in Anambra State at which Ejike Ogbuebego emerged as State Chairman of PDP, Anambra State as null and void and ordered the PDP to conduct other congresses in Anambra State though the Commission was not a party in the suit.
“The revelation of the existence of the judgement by the PDP only on 31st July 2013 has imposed serious constraints on both the Commission and the Party.”
The Commission said after considering all the facts in the matter, including the court judgements, it would not recognize Mr Emeakayi, who is the PDP’s preference as the party’s chairman in Anambra State.
The three-paged letter said, “The Commission has taken due consideration of the following:
-that the Commission not being a party to the suit in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory which nullified the congress at which Ejike Ogbuebego was elected is not bound by the judgement;
-that the Commission did not monitor the process that brought in Ken Emeakayi as the Anambra State Chairman of the PDP’
-the order of the Federal High Court which ordered a return to the status quo; and
-the recent order of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt which restrained the Commission from recognizing or dealing with Ken Emeakayi as the Chairman of the PDP in Anambra State.
“The Commission has resolved that it will not withdraw its letter of reference No INEC/EPM/PDP/24/1/53 of 26th July, 2013 by which the Commission recognized Ejike Ogbuebego as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Anambra State and shall be bound by the recent order of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.”
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