By Chimezie Anaso
There was uncertainty on Tuesday over reports that the United Peoples Party (UPP) has suspended former aviation minister, Osita Chidoka and Chief Chudi Ofodile, both governorship aspirants of the party.
The party claimed that it handed down the suspension on Tuesday over alleged anti-party activities. Affected apart from Chidoka and Ofodile, were the National Treasurer of the party, Mr Flint Obiekwe and Chief Nwabueze Anyichie, the party’s Deputy National Secretary.
The Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Chief Uche Amaku, said the four were suspended for allegedly indulging in acts aimed at undermining the authority of the state executive of the party.
But in a swift reaction, the campaign team of Chidoka and Chidoka himself, along with Ofodile, debunked the suspension.
The Campaign Group said: “Our attention has been drawn to reports circulating in a section of the media that frontline contender in the November 18, 2017 Anambra governorship election, Chief Osita Chidoka has been suspended from our great party, the United Progressive Party (UPP).
“This is totally misleading and aimed at destabilizing our great party ahead of our governorship election primaries scheduled for August 19, 2017.
“For the avoidance of doubt and to set the record straight, Chief Osita Chidoka has not been suspended from the party and he is not facing any disciplinary issues whatsoever with the party.
“While we are aware of forces outside our party bent at causing confusion within our ranks having realised our massive support from the people ahead of the elections, we state in very strong terms that they are fighting a lost battle as we are not in anyway distracted in our mission to return Anambra back to the people come November 18, 2017.”
Dr Sylvester Igwilo, the Chairman of UPP in the state, said Chidoka and Ofodile did not show documentary evidence of their resignation from PDP as required by Article 7 paragraph B of UPP Constitution.
He also said both aspirants introduced money politics in the party and induced members to gain advantage.
“They have introduced money politics of inducing members with cash donation which tends to bring the image of the party to ridicule.
“Both aspirants were found to have deposited five million naira into the account of the party without the consent and approval of state executive committee.
“They had also appeared for a purported screening without the approval and authority of the state executive committee outside the provision in the party’s constitution.
‘’All these tantamount to anti-party activities to undermine the state executive authority of the party,” he said.
Igwilo said the two members of the National Executive Committee from Anambra, Obiekwe and Anyichie were suspended for their role in attempts to undermine the leadership of UPP in Anambra.
Chidoka told NAN that he was unaware of his suspension as he had not been informed by the party.
The former minister said he had not contravened any provision of the party constitution.
He said he was busy meeting stakeholders and consulting ahead of the party’s primary election and how to build a stronger and more resilient UPP in Anambra and Nigeria.
On his part, Ofodile described his suspension as surprising. He said he would react after he was served by the party.
Also reacting, the National Chairman of UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie said the development was a handiwork of enemies of party.
Okorie dismissed the development and described it as `inconsequential’ as officials and delegates for the party primaries were ready for the exercise slated to hold on Saturday.