Fresh crisis has hit the Enugu State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following the sudden resignation of the State Chairman of the Party, Engr. Vita Abba and the purported appointment of a new State Chairman in the person of the Managing Director of the Enugu State Housing Development Cooperation, Ikeje Asogwa.
According to a statement released at the end of an emergency State Executive Council, SEC, meeting presided over by Governor Sullivan Chime and signed by the State Publicity secretary, Okey Eze, the party said it had accepted the resignation of Abba as State Party Chairman.The statement said the acceptance was based on a letter Engr. Abba sent to the SEC dated October 20, 2014, which was read on the floor of the meeting purportedly to enable him stand for election in the forthcoming primary of the party.
This was even as reliable sources accused the Governor’s faction of lies, insisting that Engr. Vita Abba had been down with stroke and was receiving treatment overseas.
In a sharp reaction to the development, the Deputy Chairman of the Enugu State Chapter of the PDP, Elder David Aja, described the purported election as “illegal, null and void” as it, according to him, did not comply with the PDP Constitution.
Elder 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.Aja 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 SEC appointed 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 Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as its consensus governorship candidate.
However, Aja who expressed disappointment over the development, told newsmen that if the state Chairman of the party, Vita Abba, had resigned, he ought to be duly informed to enable him act until a substantive state Chairman was elected.
Declaring the SEC decision as “illegal, null and void”, Aja said: “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.
“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.
“As far as I am concerned, I remain the Acting Chairman of the party in the state until a substantive Chairman is elected”.
Explaining that he was not officially invited to the meeting, Aja added: “Someone informed him of a meeting of the State Executive Council holding behind his office and he decided to go there and ascertain what was happening and on getting there, he saw Governor Sullivan Chime and some members of the party already seated. He said on inquiry, he was informed that the state secretary of the party, Steve Oruruo convened the meeting and he decided to sit down and listen. The meeting was informed that Abba has resigned and that the meeting was called to select a new state chairman.
He continued: “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.
“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, various subsections of Section 45 of the PDP constitution as amended in 2012 provides: “(1) If a National Officer of the Party is removed or resigns from office, he shall immediately hand over to the National Secretary all records, files and other properties of the Party in his or her possession.
“(2) In the case of the National Chairman, he shall hand over to the Deputy National Chairman who shall, without prejudice to Section 45 (6) of this Constitution, act as the National Chairman pending the election of a Replacement.
“(3) In the case of National Secretary, he shall hand over to the Deputy National Secretary.
“This provision shall apply mutatis mutandis to other levels of the Party structure”.
Section 46 (3), however, provides that “The Executive Committee at all levels shall, in the appointment or election of members of the Executive Committees at respective levels of the Party, observe and apply the principle of Federal Character”.
Consequent upon 46(3), Section 47(6) stipulates that “Where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the Party, the Executive Committee at the appropriate level shall appoint another person from the area or zone where the officer originated from, pending the conduct of election to fill the vacancy.”
Elder Aja maintained that Section 47 was strictly in relation to Section 46(3) dealing with where an officer comes from, not about the process of the emergence of the officer.
In the meantime, the sudden regsignation of Vita Abba appears to have conformed rife in Enugu that the erstwhile Chairman of the Enugu PDP, Engr. Vita Abba, had been flown abroad about twpo weeks ago for medical attention after he reportedly suffered an ailment said to be related to stroke.
Abba was nursing a gubernatorial ambition before Governor Sullivan Chime and PDP stakeholders from Enugu North Senatorial Zone (Nsukka zone) adopted the member representing Igboeze North/Udenu at the National Assembly, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as the Consensus Governorship candidate of the party in the state.
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