By Great Osibe, Awka, Anambra
Politics may not indeed be a game for the chicken hearted. This was amply made manifest during last weekend’s botched Grand Rally believed to have been bankrolled by the Special Adviser to the President on Technical Matters, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo.
So hideously manipulated that the local media were not even brought into the picture in an event some pundits believe was aimed at wearing the toga of a state congress for the covert anointment and selection of a PDP governorship candidate.
The rally was planned by the said Nwankpo’s backed Anambra State Congress Group of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which had Pastor Emma Obiora as Chairman, Hon. Chris Uche Okoye and Hon. Maurice Anolue as chairman and secretary of the Planning Committee respectively.
But the hawks in PDP were not taken unawares as they rose to the occasion to file a suit stopping the so called Grand Rally..
The Federal High Court presided by Honourable Justice M.T. Salihu in suit No. FHC/AWK/CS/300/2012 filed by a factional chairman of the PDP Prince Ken Emeakayi, through his counsel, I.C. Nsofor against the Inspector-General of Police, Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, Pastor Emma Obiora, Hon. Maurice Anolue and Hon. Chris Uche Okoye, restrained the 3 – 5th respondents, their servants, subordinates, workmen, agents or privies from presenting, parading and holding out themselves, as the chairman, the secretary and the chairman of the Planning Committee of the Group, and from convening, continuing to convene meetings and/or rally of the group on Saturday December 2012 as scheduled pending the determination of the motion on notice for order of mandamus by the applicant.
The order made by the presiding Judge, also directed the 1st and 2nd respondents and all police officers under their command, to ensure compliance with the order of court in the suit if and when granted and ensure compliance wit the judgment order of court in suit No. A/171/2011, to avoid any breakdown of law and order in Anambra state , pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for order of mandamus.
The police and other security operatives enforced the orders to the letters, cordoning off the Emmaus House venue of the occasion, and forcing hired supporters from the local government areas back to base.
So embarrassing was the botched rally that political observers have continued to wonder why top Nigerians who were expected to grace the burial of the younger brother to the President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, chief Innocent Meni Jonathan at Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Of Bayelsa, were slated to grace attend the Awka rally.
Listed to attend the Fresh Congress Group’s Rally in Awka, Anambra State capital were Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who was to serve as the chief host, with billionaire business moguls, Prince Arthur Eze, the chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum Limited and Sir Emeka Offor,the Chairman of Chrome Group Limited were invited as chairman and co-chairman of the occasion respectively..
Also to attend were David Mark, the Senate President,WAziri Aminu Tambuwai, speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Princess Stella Oduah, Minister of Aviation, Senator Ben Ndii Obi, Special Adviser to the President on Inter-party Affairs; Nze Nwankpo, Special Adviser to the President on Technical Matters and Senato Joy Emordi, Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters.
The others listed in the invitation to attend the event were Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Second Republic Vice President, Olisa Metuh,PDP NATIONAL Publicity Secretary, Ijaw Nation activist, Dr. Edwin Clark, Alhaji Mohammed Gusau, all elected PDP members from both the National and State Assemblies
Some of those whose names were included in the invitation card have faulted the scheduled date for the rally, but said they preferred to hide their identity.
But for the court action, the rally would have been a disgraceful one as almost all those that were to attend were billed to attend the Otuoke burial same day.
The suit though a set back was a mixed grill.
Investigations revealed that the not-so-well organized rally was to serve as a test ground of people’s acceptability of the President’s man who many have vowed to fight to finish if he dared come.
It was gathered that about three other unregistered groups have put together to provide similar platform for Nwankpo, who is coming into Anambra political landscape with Anambra Responds, a project said to work for the interest of the flood displaced persons.
When contacted on phone, Emeakayi stated that the suit was filed to the masquerade behind the Fresh Congress Group to unmask himself pointing out that politics in Anambra State had gone beyond a hide and seek game more so for such a high profile slot as the governorship.
Emeakayi who parades himself as the Chairman of the PDP in the State expressed worry with the timing of the event which he said was calculated to embarrass the President as it coincided with the burial of Jonathan’s younger brother at Otuoke, Bayelsa state where all those that were listed in the invitation would attend.
He doubted the motive of the group which he said was not known o the PDP and threatened to seek further clarification with the Independent National Electoral Commission, whether Fresh Congress Group had anything in common with the just deregistered Fresh Party of Pastor Chris Okotie or not.
But in a swift reaction, Pastor Obiora in a media chat in Awka yesterday said all those invited to the event including Ekwueme gave their blessing to the event, pointing out that “we (Fresh Congress Group of PDP) are no faction of PDP but we are grassroots politicians who want to make peace at the grassroots.”
According to him, the sponsors of the botched rally were the enemies of the state and party who wanted to stop the party and later defect to another party at the appropriate election time to seek for the endless aspiration.
He stated that “the main objective of the rally was and still remains to provide an enabling rallying point for a small segment of about 8,000 members only of the grassroots supporters of PDP in the state drawn from all the 21 local government areas under the umbrella of FCG to tell Anambrarians, Nigerians and the rest of the world that they are tired of fractionalization, divisions, confusion, court suits, imposition of candidates, godfatherism etc in Anambra state chapter of PDP.
“The requested such a platform to voice out their grievances against what led to a failure of PDP to win the governorship elections in Anambra state in 2007 and 2010 respectively. They wanted to use the platform to suggest to the Presidency and the National Executive Committee of PDP certain measures to take that will enable PDP take back the governorship of Anambra state in 2014.
‘Unfortunately, the enemies of PDP in Anambra state who are hell bent in destroying the party in the state, and in their usual manner orchestrated another court injunction to stop a peace intentional rally which could have served as a rallying point for all factions in the state to come together under one PDP umbrella…”
The FCG chairman pointed out that the group lost about N37 million following the order of the court which stopped the rally, noting however, that the purpose of stifling the group was not realized rather it had made it more popular and acceptable.
According to him, time would tell about the relevance f the group, stressing that by the next three months, Fresh Congress Group would take over Anambra State and deliver power to the PDP come 2014.
Though observers see the development as another round of ugly political development which the PDP is used to, but wonder why the loyalists of the Presidential aide chose to toy with his first major political outing by tending to embarrass the party national leadership on the day the President was billed to bury his brother. Nwankpo, according to political watchers, is not new to political somersaulting having even failed in his ward in the last major election held in the state.. His supporters are even becoming wary.
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