Gentlemen of the press,
On behalf of Enugu West People’s Forum, I welcome you to this very crucial press conference and thank you for finding time to answer this clarion call. This press conference has been necessitated by unavoidable circumstances and political developments in Enugu State, most of which am sure you are all already aware of, and which we consider very inimical to the interest of democracy and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 general election.
You too are witnesses to the many instances of political highhandedness in the state, including the harassment and intimidation of various party functionaries, town unions, stakeholders, traditional institutions, and the civil society over the 2015 ambition of the Governor of Enugu State and his preferred candidates.
You are aware of the harassment and illegal efforts to remove the Chairman of the PDP in Udi Local Government Area of the State, Mr. Uche Ogbodo by some Enugu State Government functionaries with the blessing of the Chairman of the PDP, Engr. Vita Abba for his refusal to pander to their undemocratic interests.
Only a few days ago, some people under the Enugu State Government from Awgu Local Government Area issued a statement claiming the endorsement of Governor Sullivan Chime for Enugu West Senatorial seat by the Executive Council of the PDP in Awgu Local Government, but without any recourse whatsoever to the said Local Government Exco. Of course, the Awgu Local Government Exco of the PDP has already issued a statement denying ever endorsing Governor Sullivan Chime or anybody for that matter.
You are also probably aware that four royal fathers who joined their subjects under the auspices of Ezeagu Local Government stakeholders and leaders of thought to an appreciation visit to the Deputy President of the Senate, His Excellency, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, CFR over the numerous development projects attracted to their communities are on the verge of losing their stools. We have it on good authority that while two of the traditional rulers, namely HRH Igwe Raphael Okolo of Iwolo community and HRH Igwe John Nwakaeze of Oha Ndiagu were ordered by the State Chairman of the PDP, Engr. Vita Abba to go on air to renounce their commendation of the immense development strides of Senator Ike Ekweremadu or lose their stools, while the traditional ruler of Olo and Chairman of the Enugu West Traditional Rulers Council, HRH Igwe Harford Agana as well as traditional ruler of Umuoji Imeziowa, Igwe Igbonekwu are about to lose their stools any moment from now.
You were also aware that the poultry farm of the Deputy Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi was forcibly closed and the over 3,000 birds carted away by functionaries of Enugu State Government on the excuse that it constituted public nuisance to the Enugu State Government House. But it beats the imagination of the right-thinking public how a poultry farm located within the agriculture designated area of the Deputy Governor’s Lodge, which he inherited and has been operating since 2008 suddenly became a public nuisance or how the Deputy Governor’s farm constituted a higher nuisance than the bigger poultry, expansive piggery, and sprawling cattle ranch at the Governor’s side of the same Government House.
We therefore wish to:
1. Condemn in strongest terms the attempts by some State Government functionaries and the Enugu PDP Chairman, Engr. Vita Abba to compel and railroad various government functionaries and party executives into hasty endorsement of the Governor of Enugu State and his preferred candidates for elective political positions in the forthcoming 2015 general elections.
These same people form the large chunk of the delegates at the party primaries and should be allowed to make choices of their own freewill and based on their good conscience when the time comes. Efforts to railroad and force them towards a particular agenda at this time are preemptive and indeed represent attempt to rig and compromise the primaries in advance.
2. Condemn in totality the rising cases of political intimidation, arm-twisting, threats, and witch-hunt of otherwise neutral Local Government Party Excos and government functionaries averse to this preemptive rigging and compromise of the electoral processes of Enugu State PDP ahead of the 2015 general election;
3. Condemn the descent of Enugu State into a political garrison, with stringent measures applied to the muffle voices of the populations and terribly abridge their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and association.
We see absolutely nothing wrong with royal fathers joining their people to pay an appreciation visit to their elected representatives for verifiable democracy dividends attracted to their communities. To punish these respected persons for such conventional and well-intentioned action is to say the least oppressive, offensive, and a dangerous pollution of the democratic environment.
4. Warn that this dangerous resort to high level of political intimidation and desperation is capable of undermining the growth of the party and political peace in Enugu State.
5. Warn that these undemocratic and uncivilized actions and utterances are capable of causing serious disaffection, mass defection, disunity, instability, and uncontrollable dissension thereby undermining the cohesiveness and success of the Enugu PDP in the forthcoming general elections.
PDP thrives on democratic ethos and to steamroll into endorsements is nothing short of dictatorship.
6. Call on the national leadership of the party to note this high level of abuse of executive and party powers in Enugu, especially by Engr. Vita Abba and call them to order to stop the drift to internal anarchy in Enugu PDP.
7. Finally, call on Engr. Vita Abba to resign his position as the Enugu State Chairman of the PDP to pursue his gubernatorial ambition, which is the driving force behind his undemocratic and nefarious actions. He should no longer be allowed to lord his personal interest over the overall interest and fortunes of the party.
Hon. Paul Anikwe
Enugu West People’s Forum