Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Less than one week to the March 11 governorship election, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Abia State, is still locked in controversy over its valid deputy governorship candidate.
This is as the Campaign Council of the party, has faulted a letter purportedly addressed to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, and National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu.
Ayu and Anyanwu, had in the letter, informed INEC that the name of Dr Jasper Uche, was submitted to the electoral umpire as the party’s governorship running mate in error.
The letter urged INEC to drop Uche and recognise Hon. Okey Igwe as the valid deputy governorship candidate of the party.
PDP Acting Publicity Secretary and Vice Chairman Abia North, Elder Abraham Amah, had at the Sunday briefing, confirmed the letter by Ayu and Anyanwu, saying the state leadership of the party would not oppose it.
Amah explained that it was the statutory powers of the party’s national leadership to transmit names of its candidates to INEC.
But peeved by the content of the said letter and its confirmation by Amah, the Chairman, Media and Publicity of the Campaign Council, and Commissioner for Information, Eze Chikamnayo, disowned them.
Chikamnayo explained that the new governorship candidate of the party, Chief Okey Ahiwe, who emerged in a fresh primary following the death of Professor Ikonne, duly nominated Dr Uche as his running mate.
He said that Elder Amah, “spoke for himself.”
Chikamnayo dismissed the purported letter as a misrepresentation of facts, urging members of the public to discountenance it.
The Information Commissioner in a statement released said Amah had been advised.
The statement read in part: “I have been inundated with calls and enquiries from various media outlets, well meaning citizens and our dear Party faithful on a statement purportedly credited to Chief Amah Abraham, the State acting Publicity Secretary of the Party.
“As the Chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, Abia State, and after due enquiries, I can confirm that there is no confusion in the Abia State PDP as is being erroneously reported by a section of the Media with respect to the position of the Deputy Governorship Candidacy of our great Party.
“Firstly, the matter of the Deputy Governorship Candidacy of the PDP Abia State is subjudice as Hon. Okey Igwe, in defiance to Party Rules and Regulations, have approached the Courts on the matter with all Parties duly served. Therefore, neither Chief Amah Abraham nor any other legal person has the authority to pronounce on the matter until after the ongoing Judicial Intervention.
“Any letter from any source being bandied by any individual or group to create confusion should be totally disregarded. Such documents, if authentic, can only assist the Courts if and when they are properly presented therein.
“As it stands, Dr .Jasper Uche, whose name has been duly submitted to INEC after fresh primaries of the party occasioned by the painful demise of Prof. Eleazar Uche Ikonne remains the authentic deputy governorship candidate of our great party.
“Chief Amah Abraham, who may have inadvertently expressed his personal opinion, bias or sentiment during the said press conference has been duly advised.
“All members of the Peoples Democratic Party, the media and the general public who may have been taken aback by this unfortunate incident are urged to disregard the needless controversy and sustain the tempo of the campaign while focusing on ensuring that we secure victory for our amiable governorship candidate, Chief Okechukwu Ahiwe and all PDP Candidates come Saturday, March 11th, 2023.”