Why we chose Ugwuanyi—Chime

By admin on 06/10/2014

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Gov. Chime

GOVERNOR Sullivan Chime of Enugu State at the weekend opened up on how he and his loyalists in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are planning for a smooth transition at the end of the eight year Chime era. He debunked insinuations of imposition and expressed readiness of the party in the state to ensure that even those opposed to the choice of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as the next governor would still have an opportunity to canvass their points in the party primaries.

MY transition plans
In line with our practice, we had as the family of PDP in Enugu State, commenced consultations to see if we can agree among ourselves on who should actually represent us at all levels, House of Assembly to Gubernatorial. We decided to take the bull by the horns, so we started with the most difficult or what should have been the difficult one, the governorship.

In the 2011 elections, activities leading to that election, we had the understanding  that within the party that I should be allowed to complete my second term and thereafter, it should go to the North that hasn’t produced governor before under the platform of the PDP.

So, within the PDP, I got the nomination, I contested and of course during the general elections, one or two persons from Nsukka contested but they were abandoned by their people and they performed so miserably, so no reasonable person will hold that against them.

Last year, the caucus of our party met, because they felt there was need to formalise that arrangement, we met and also re-affirmed that decision that the governorship should go up north. So in keeping with that decision, last week, we summoned a meeting of who is who from Nsukka zone, although we called it the caucus meeting, everybody was invited.

Everybody was there, I believe the commissioner for information can make available the list of the attendees. All persons who had indicated interest one way or the other were there, all elected officials, government, public officers, both state and national were there, past and present leaders.

So, we met and unanimously, at the end of deliberations, it was put to a formal motion which was moved. A lot of the aspirants stepped down for Hon, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. At the end, it became clear the way the discussion was going. I was there as the umpire, I didn’t participate in the deliberations; mine was just to guide them, to coordinate what was happening.

So everybody who wanted to speak was given the chance to speak. People who had expressed concern earlier, thinking that they were called to come and endorse a particular candidate, after hearing from their kinsmen, changed their views and withdrew from the race.

Hearing from kinsmen
Interestingly, at the end of the day, the two persons that moved and supported the motion were actually contestants were stepped down. Amb. Fidel Ayogu moved, and was seconded by former deputy governor, Okey Itanyi. And the motion was unanimously endorsed; everybody supported. When I asked if anybody was against the motion, not a single soul raised his hand, so they all endorsed it.

Before we started going into the details, I reminded them, everybody had tried to give reason why he should be governor, my response to all of them at the time was that in the end that it is our people that will decide. That whoever, we agree upon, that it would be my duty to champion the person’s course; that I wasn’t going to nominate any person. So at the end of that meeting, it now became my burden to ensure that we got support from the other zones.

So we now called a meeting of Enugu East senatorial district on Wednesday, everybody was  there but the ones that couldn’t come like Senator Ken Nnamani, Senator Jim Nwobodo and so on, I briefed them when we went for the National Honours award and they indicated their willingness to support the choice of the north.

So they lent heir support and at the end of the meeting, only one nomination was available, Hon. Ugwuanyi and everybody again unanimously endorsed him. We followed up on it, Friday, the people of my district, Enugu West met, the same thing happened. They moved a motion and it was unanimously resolved that he will be our candidate. Today (Saturday), we firmed it up with the State Caucus meeting, all the zones endorsed him as a consensus candidate.

But I want to say something because I read things in the papers and became worried, even hearing of people threatening to go to court; nobody should fool himself. This is a case of people coming together to express their desire, we have not elected a governor or selected the PDP candidate, we are saying as a family, this is our number one choice. He will still go though the rigours of primaries, at the appropriate time, he will buy form, he will be subjected to primaries.

If on the day of primaries, other people see reasons to queue in and give him support, we’ll probably have him as the only candidate and support him. It is not by force, nobody is being cowed, everybody is free to express himself but as a family, in Enugu, we try as much as possible to agree and I believe, we have reached that agreement and the very interesting thing is even the young man’s acceptability outside the family ring.

Interesting thing
People who know him and have had encounters with him say he is widely accepted. People are excited about his choice, so I thank God that such a character came up and I didn’t have to beg anybody, plead with anybody or start selling a very bad product.

I have a good product to sell and that makes it a lot easier. We will probably take up at the SEC meeting of the party, down to the local government and ward levels. Ugwuanyi is our choice, there is no doubt about it.

Every other person, whether you are of PDP, you can contest with him for primaries or a member of any other party, you wait for the general elections.

We are looking forward to that, and it is our prayer that, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, we’ll be producing a governor who will be returned unopposed. It is not by our might, it is not by any funny dealing with anybody.
We did that during the last council elections, all our 17 chairmen were returned unopposed.

Implicit trust
It had never happened anywhere in Nigeria, but it happened in Enugu and we look forward to having it happen this time around in the governorship.
It depends on actually the way you run the party, get people together to have implicit trust in what we are doing. What we preach here is peace, togetherness, selflessness, always think of the people. We have endorsed him as the consensus candidate. It is also enshrined in the constitution of the party.

I don’t see why any party at any level should be against negotiation. It can not under any circumstance be described as undemocratic. That’s the most democratic thing you can do, if you can get your kinsmen to agree that this is our leader; nobody is being coerced into doing that. That’s what lobbying, campaign is all about. So, if you can get people to say this is our choice, this is our candidate, nobody can stop you.

We are not running contrary to the constitution of the party but rather doing what the constitution encourages, dialogue, and talking to each other. We are lucky it is working here, we are not killing ourselves. I believe, people should be envious of us. We are happy doing what we are doing.

We are only pleading that everybody who feels aggrieved should look at the larger interest of the people and queue behind every other person, we must leave selfish ambition. Ifeanyi  is the popular choice, anybody will endorse him any day any time. And I am sure nobody will want to waste his money contesting against him.

One of the aspirants said he was ambushed as he was not told about the purpose of the meeting and it was reported that nine of the 13 stepped down as three objected?

Yes, some raised issues and like I said at the end of the deliberations, some formally stepped down. Those who moved and supported the motion raised concerns initially. Not every one of them spoke again. But when it was now put to motion, each and every one of them endorsed. There was no dissenting voice, not a single one.

Everybody said yes. After they heard themselves I invited you to this meeting but I can get the names of the contestants and I can ask you to go and speak with them one after the other and they will tell you how they feel now. All of them have queued behind him as far as I know.

If it had not been consensus, all of those persons would have been saying things in the papers. They would have been telling you different things.

Ayogu is the only one, for reasons best known to him. Coming to your second question, because I believe that was what he said, that he didn’t know why the meeting was called, it is laughable. Everybody was invited. I don’t have any apologies for not telling them in advance why they were called.

If you had informed them in advance, probably, Nsukka would have been on fire by the time we commenced the meeting; people would have moved money around and done funny things.

We called the meeting of everybody, nobody was left out. Why you came was immaterial and it was clearly put on the table; this is our reason for coming and the issue was raised, (and some said) that we should have been given notice and I asked them, do we adjourn, so you go home and discuss, but all of them screamed No. So they knew the disaster that would have come out of it if we had allowed them to go home and discuss.

We know ourselves, it is not a case of somebody from Delta wanting to be president and then you call somebody from Sokoto to come and vote for him, you need to convince him. In this case, we know ourselves; you don’t need time to lobby anybody. This is the time to take the decision and that decision was taken and that was the beauty of it.

Party constitution

Ayogu Eze

Ayogu Eze

That surprise aspect. Everybody saw it happening and it happened. Nobody was forced. Nicely, those who spoke against it turned to support it.
The National leadership of your party issued a statement within the week expressing it opposition to any endorsement at the state level insisting that only the NEC can endorse.

It cautioned state chapters against going ahead with endorsement. How do you react to it?
I didn’t read it, but if it was made, then it is unfortunate; under the party constitution, we are encouraged to talk things over; we are encouraged to come together and discuss rather than being at war. That cuts across all the levels of the party. I don’t believe the statement was made.

The party cannot and never be against any level of the party coming together to agree on a candidate. What would be their problem, if any, would be if any level of the party stops other people from buying forms. Here, people are free to buy forms, that’s what politics is all about.

We endorsed the president as the presidential candidate; it wont stop him from going for primaries. It won’t. But it will be a mere formality, any other person coming out will be coming there to ridicule himself because the party has spoken. But it can’t stop anybody from buying form constitutionally.

That we have endorsed him is a statement to whoever that is coming that the party has spoken but if you like, off course the party wants to make some money, but if you like you can pick form. Nobody will stop anybody from buying form, buy your form and go for primaries, what you find, you take.

Present dispensation
Nobody is going against the party directives. I’m not sure what they said affects us. As far as Enugu is concerned, we are not stopping anybody from contesting. Thank God, under the present dispensation, all forms are bought in Abuja. Nobody has the powers to stop you from buying forms. If anything, the party should encourage it. They should congratulate us for this feat for coming together to say this is our choice.

Are you happy with the obvious dull moment in Enugu owing to the fact that everybody was waiting for you to anoint a candidate?
I don’t owe you any apologies. Maybe you were expecting us to break our heads, we disappointed you. We have agreed on who we have chosen to lead us. When people address you, the press that this happened and all that…

The persons that attended the meeting are not spirits. Go the extra mile and call Senator Fidel Okoro, Okwesilieze Nwodo, Okechukwu Itanyi and tell them that you heard they were ambushed. Collect their numbers and call them. We shouldn’t discuss what one person is saying in a meeting attended by over 100 persons.

Chime on Enugu guber

•Ugwuanyi is our candidate
•Ugwuanyi has no enemies
•Enugu PDP is united
•Ayogu Eze is the only complainant
•We didn’t flout PDP’s constitution


Source vanguard

Posted on October, 7 2014

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