Fresh crisis has hit the Enugu State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following the sudden resignation of its chairman, Vita Abba, and the appointment of a replacement, Ikeje Asogwa.
Mr. Asogwa is the managing director of the Enugu State Housing Development Cooperation.
A statement released at the end of an emergency State Executive Council meeting, presided over by Governor Sullivan Chime, said the party had accepted the resignation of Mr. Abba.
The statement said the acceptance was based on a letter dated October 20 the former chairman sent to the party, which was read on the floor of the meeting purportedly to enable him contest the governorship primary in the state.
This was even as reliable sources accused the governor’s faction of lies, insisting that Mr. Vita Abba had been down with stroke and was receiving treatment overseas.
However, the Deputy Chairman, David Aja, described the purported election as “illegal, null and void” as it, according to him, did not comply with the PDP Constitution.
Mr. Aja, who was at the meeting, insisted that he remained the authentic acting chairman of the party in line with section 47 (1) of the PDP constitution.
He argued argued that he was the one duly empowered to convene the SEC meeting in the event of the resignation of the chairman and not the secretary.
The meeting appointed Mr. Asogwa, who is from the same zone as its chairman in the state “in line with article 47 (6) of the PDP constitution”, and further adopted Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as its consensus governorship candidate.
Mr. Aja, who expressed disappointment over the development, told newsmen that with the resignation of the chairman, Vita Abba, he ought to be duly informed to enable him act until a substantive chairman was elected.
“I told them that under section 45 (1) of the party’s constitution, if the national chairman resigns, the deputy chairman takes over, even if it is for one day and he should be the one to convene the National Executive Committee (NEC) where a new national chairman will be elected, but they turned down my submission,” he said.
“I was sitting beside Governor Chime and I told him that what they were doing was wrong because I am the right person to convene the meeting but he said that under section 47(1), that the SEC can meet and chose another person from the same zone to replace the chairman.
“I told them that I was not complaining about who replaces the Chairman, but that the procedure was wrong. I wanted to walk out of the meeting but a governorship aspirant asked me to sit back that it was wrong to walk out on the governor.”
The deputy chairman said as far as he was concerned, he remained the acting Chairman of the party in the state until a substantive chairman was elected.
Revealing that he was not officially invited to the meeting, Mr. Aja said someone informed him of a meeting of the SEC holding behind his office and that he decided to go there and ascertain what was happening. He said on getting there, he saw Mr. Chime and some members of the party already seated.
He said on inquiry, he was informed that the secretary of the party, Steve Oruruo, convened the meeting and that he decided to sit down and listen. He stated that the meeting was informed that Mr. Abba had resigned and that the meeting was called to select a new state chairman.
“Most members of the State Executive Committee were not present at the meeting and that I felt what they were doing at the meeting was not right,” he said.
“I told them I was the right person to chair the meeting in the absence of the state Chairman, but they refused. I also told them that the meeting should be rescheduled to enable me convene a proper SEC meeting that will decide the way forward.
“I told them that what they were doing was null and void since the meeting was not convened by me, they rejected my submission claiming that they have the right under section 47 (6) of the PDP constitution to convene the meeting”.
Meanwhile, there were indications on Saturday that Mr. Abba was flown abroad for medical attention after he reportedly took ill.
The former chairman was nursing a gubernatorial ambition before Mr. Chime and PDP stakeholders from Enugu North Senatorial Zone (Nsukka zone) adopted the member representing Igboeze North/Udenu in the House of Representatives, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, as the consensus governorship candidate of the party in the state.