By Jackson Ujah – Clems
August 31 (Newshour.com.ng) – A political party pressure group, The Imo PDP Critical Stakeholders, has described as a disaster, last Tuesday’s governorship campaign council inauguration of the People’s Democratic Party, held at the party’s secretariat, Okigwe Road, Owerri.
In a letter addressed to the chairman of the PDP in the state, Engr Charles Ugwu, and copied to the national chairman of the National Working Committee, NWC, which was signed by spokesperson, Comrade Kenneth Chukwuemeka Akunnakwe, the Imo Critical Stakeholders noted that last Tuesday’s inauguration was a vivid reflection of the “devastating damage on the Imo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP)”.
The group lamented that the decline in fortunes of the PDP “manifested in the emergence of Senator Samuel Anyanwu as the candidate of the party, ultimately climaxed during the inauguration of the PDP campaign council on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, at the PDP state secretariat in Owerri”.
According to it, “It must be placed on record that it is pitiful that an occasion billed for more than 1,200 members had less than 200 persons in attendance. The Imo PDP gubernatorial campaign Council 2023 inauguration was therefore a colossal failure”.
Shocked and astonished, Akunnakwe who signed the release made available to journalists in Owerri, indicated that, “Since the inception of the party in 1999, Imo PDP inauguration of campaign councils had always served as a dress rehearsal of what the electioneering proper would look like: bumper, massive, exciting and beautiful, embellished with high ranking politicians, renowned personalities, influential opinion moulders as well as established timber and calibre of the Imo society in attendance”.
He noted that, PDP’s governorship inauguration of campaign councils had in the past served as a veritable benchmark, signifying the party’s readiness to win the elections. In other words, inauguration of governorship campaign council is largely a reflection of the direction the party would go to and at what velocity.
He recalled the orderliness and spectacular organization of previous inaugurations, which, according to him, obviously played symbolic roles in the PDP’s electoral victories from 1999 to 2019, as he put it, because such landmark displays normally sent jitters down the spines of the opponents.
But he regretted that such was no longer the case. He said, “Sadly, what we, the Imo PDP Critical Stakeholders and other loyal party faithful were treated to last Tuesday was a despicable testament to organisational failure. It was a drastic departure from the historic PDP culture and tradition.
“Last Tuesday’s dismal failure, once again, confirmed our long standing fear of Imo PDP’s steady but lamentable decline into decay. The elite conviviality which used to witness the creme-de-la creme of PDP’s serving and former principal officers like governors, national and state assembly members, commissioners, party executives at all levels, as well as other top ranking members of the party, were conspicuously missing”.
The Critical Stakeholders spokesperson continued; “Now, we the Imo PDP Critical Stakeholders, with the benefit of hindsight, ask: what importance and meaning can a PDP governorship campaign council inauguration reflect or achieve, when all the four incumbent House of Representatives members were conspicuously absent? They are: Hon Emeka Chinedu Martins, Hon Ugonna Ozuruigbo, Rt Hon Jonas Okeke and Hon Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere. Recall that Hon Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere was announced about a week earlier by Candidate Samuel Anyanwu, as the director general (DG), of his campaign and yet he was nowhere near the PDP secretariat in Owerri last Tuesday.
“Worse still, big names in Imo State PDP – men and women who have been labouring and building the party and keeping it intact and progressive were not seen either. The list includes but not limited to former governors Achike Udenwa and Emeka Ihedioha, erstwhile deputy governor, Gerald Irona; Hon Mayor Eze, Hon (Dr.) ThankGod Ezeani, Hon (Barr) Uche Onyeagucha who the immediate past Secretary to Government of Imo State (SGI), former minister Chief Chuka Odom. Several former commissioners- Prof Jude Njoku, Engr (Dr) Ben Ekwueme, Chief Chris Okewulonu and Barr Nkiru Ibekwe, were not in attendance. The list of PDP elders and leaders who were conspicuously missing from the disorganized Tuesday uneventful episode is quite discomforting”.
Obviously unhappy with the current state of Imo PDP in Imo, the PDP pressure group stated thus; “It must be brought to the notice of the National Working Committee, NWC, of our great party that the Imo PDP governorship council inauguration was reduced to a mere fans club razzmatazz where all manner of urchins, touts and thugs were hurriedly hired to fill the empty seats because the real expected guests failed to show up. In the process, what ordinarily ought to have been a mixture of solemnity and prime affair was turned into a caricature and all the madness that go with an infantile gathering – confusion, commotion and contraption”.
Giving insights into what really led to the organization of the inauguration as it claimed, the group revealed as follows: “What propelled our respected leaders of the party to shun the inauguration cannot be discussed in isolation from the exodus that has hit the party in recent times. We therefore herein recall the catalogue of PDP leaders who originally initiated Samddady’s governorship ambition but who have dumped him for the APC.
“The list includes but not limited to Hon Bede Ekeh, Ambassador (Mrs) Kema Chikwe, Sir Ambrose Ejiogu; Chief Peter Mgbenwelu and Chief Eze Duruihuoma (SAN). The last four were members of the Imo PDP Elders committee who were in the forefront of the then slogan “Samddady must be Imo PDP governorship candidate”. However, when Samdaddy got the ticket on a plater of gold, they all absconded and switched over to Governor Hope Uzodimma and his APC. Probably, something is grossly wrong with Samdaddy as the PDP governorship candidate in Imo?
“Painfully enough, the mass exit and attrition continue in Imo PDP. Just last week, one of the biggest financiers and investors in Imo PDP, Chief Chibuike Achigbu, resigned from PDP, headed for the APC and endorsed the re- election bid of Governor Hope Uzodimma.
“In the same way a three time House of Representatives member for Orsu/Orlu/Oru East federal constituency, Rt Hon Jerry Alagboso exited the party the moment Anyanwu emerged the governorship candidate of the Imo PDP for the November 11 election. It can be deduced that the unbecoming attitude of Senator Samuel Anyanwu is what has been driving these members away from the party”.
Pointedly blaming the PDP national secretary as the problem with Imo PDP, the stakeholders noted that “The degenerative conditions of Imo PDP that led to this malaisie are not hard to isolate. Aside these defections, Candidate Anyanwu has not made any real effort to re-unite the party he “inherited”. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, there is a 70/30 division of PDP in Imo state in favour of Ihedioha’s Rebuild Imo Organisation (RIO) against Anyanwu’s Divine Mandate Movement (DMM) structures. Since the uncontested primaries, nothing has been done to weld the two parts together. Anyanwu’s DMM continues to wax as if the RIO does not exist, hence the widening schism and the continued ruination of the party”.
Concluding, the group gave what appears to be a situation report of Imo PDP. It said, “Consequently, this is the regrettable level where Senator Samuel Anyanwu, the PDP governorship candidate for the November 11, 2023 election, has dragged our great party to. Many well meaning members of our party and even the public, foresaw this charade and called out the National Working Committee, NWC, about this corrosive development but it never paid any heed. The non-event of the 2023 campaign council inauguration is a consequence of that inaction from top to bottom.
“The ominous danger signs are there today for any discerning minds to see that Imo PDP is on downward slide. In simple terms, the Imo PDP, due to factors that were largely predictable and preventable, may lose the forthcoming governorship election in Imo State, if drastic measures are not immediately put in place to stem events as Imo PDP moves to the campaign fields”.