The Enugu State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led by the governor, Sullivan Chime, has defied an instruction from the party’s national office warning states not to adopt “consensus” governorship candidates for the 2015 election.
The PDP national secretariat had warned last week that no state chapter should adopt a consensus candidate as only the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, had the powers to do so.
The party’s warning came after some states indicated they may follow the example set by the party in adopting President Goodluck Jonathan as the PDP’s consensus candidate for the 2015 presidential elections.
Governor Chime said the Enugu chapter of the party adopted a member of the House of Representatives as its candidate, and defended the decision as “democratic”.
Mr. Chime said on Sunday in Enugu that adopting a consensus candidate for elections is democratic if the people approved the arrangement.
He spoke while addressing journalists on the emergence of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as the consensus Enugu State governorship candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 elections.
Mr. Ugwuanyi is a member of the House of Representatives, representing Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal constituency.
“I do not see why any party at any level should be against negotiation. It cannot, under any circumstance, be described as undemocratic.
“This is the most democratic thing, this is what lobbying is all about. We are not running contrary to the rules of the party; we are doing what the party encourages – dialogue.
“In Enugu, we do not anoint candidates, we allow the people to speak. What we did was a feat. We achieved a feat,” he said.
The PDP headquarters could not be immediately reached for comments.
The governor said Mr. Ugwuanyi would, nonetheless, go through party primaries to validate his choice as a consensus candidate.
He said that he recently convened the meeting of officials from the Enugu North Senatorial zone where PDP zoned the gubernatorial slot to.
He explained further that when Mr. Ugwuanyi was nominated, there was no dissenting voice.
The governor said all key party members from the zone, including retired and serving public servants, attended the meeting where Mr. Ugwuanyi was endorsed.
“Everybody was given the opportunity to speak and the two people who moved and supported the motion to endorse Ugwuanyi were aspirants as well,” he said.
The governor said in spite of the development, other aspirants would not be prevented from purchasing forms for the primary elections of the party.
Mr. Chime urged the people to support the endorsement of Ugwuanyi in the interest of peace and unity of the state.