Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
There was a mild drama on Friday at the Ebonyi State Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as members stopped the embattled Chairman of the party, Tochukwu Okorie, from addressing Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Mr Wike, a presidential aspirant, was in the state to solicit support of members, stakeholders and delegates from the state.
He was received at the State Secretariat along Enugu/Port Harcourt Road.
The Secretariat has been under lock and key since the defection of Governor David Umahi to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in December 2020.
Wike’s visit was the first time the party would hold an event at the secretariat since Umahi’s defection owing to the closure of the property by security agents.
But the event was almost truncated when members refused to allow Mr Okorie address Wike. Members present at the event included Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Zonal Vice Chairman, Ali Odefa, Senator Obinna Ọgba and some National Assembly members from the state.
Mr Okorie was sacked by an Abuja High Court recently, a decision he has since appealed.
But some members of the party have called for him to step aside and allow the Deputy Chairman to act until the matter is decided by the Appeal Court.
He, was however, introduced as the State Chairman of the party, and he mounted the podium to address Wike and members present when trouble started.
No sooner did he begin to speak than some members started shouting “he is not our Chairman, no no no no,” which made the place rowdy as the angry members prevented him from speaking.
To douse the tension, Mr Wike appealed for calm promising that the matter will be resolved.
Later, the Vice Chairman of the party, Ifeanyi Emmanuel Nworie, was introduced as Acting Chairman of the party and allowed to speak.
Meanwhile, Mr Nyesom Wike had said he wanted the party’s presidential primaries to be held before its intended date so that he would claim victory.
The Governor noted that he wished the party’s leaders would review the date of the primaries backwards because he was getting impatient.
He said what should matter for the PDP was who would win the election and return it to power in 2023.
“We should not look at where the person comes from or whether he is handsome or she is beautiful,” Wike noted.
He said he was not contesting the election to become Vice President or former presidential candidate and did not purchase form for any other position in case his presidential bid fails.
“I have stayed with the party through all trying periods as people should not expect to reap where they did not sow.”
The presidential aspirant urged delegates from the state to support his ambition because he can defeat the APC comfortably.
“I have been with the PDP in Ebonyi in trying moments at the courts, ensured that this party secretariat is gotten back, unity among members etc.”
Governor Ugwuanyi thanked the party faithful for their commitment at ensuring that the party remained strong in the state despite inherent challenges.
The National Vice Chairman of the party for the South East Zone, Ali Odefa, pledged that the state would identify with Wike for identifying with it through trying times which had led to series of successes.