By Emmanuel Acha
Some stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State have protested alleged imposition of chairmanship candidate on them in the Nov. 4 council poll.
The protesters, under the aegis of Aninri PDP Concerned Members, converged on Okpara Square on Thursday in Enugu from where they marched through major streets of the capital city.
Addressing newsmen, the leader of the group, Mr Marcel Anayochukwu alleged that the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu unilaterally imposed a non-member of the party on them as candidate.
Anayochukwu said that the said imposition had caused uproar in Aninri, adding that the PDP was at the verge of losing its popularity in the area as many party faithful were joining the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said that the intervention of the state governor was urgently needed to calm frayed nerves and bring the situation under control.
“I do not know why Ekweremadu would do this to us. He wants to make somebody who has no party card a local government chairman.”
Anayochukwu said that they had met with the deputy senate president on the issue and he promised to look into the matter.
He said that it was sad that Ekweremadu was bent on having his way even against the wishes of his people.
“We want a primary election where the position will be contested and not an endorsement. If Ekweremadu’s candidate wins in the contest, we support him,” he said.
Another member of the protesting group, Mr Chisom Kama, said that the PDP seemed not to have learnt from its past mistakes.
Kama said that they were constrained to raise their voices as the party in the state was once again towing a dishonest path.
“In paragraph 1 (e) of our party’s guideline for the conduct of the 2017 local government election, it states that only registered financial members are allowed to contest.
“Ekweremadu’s candidate was neither a member of our party nor attends any party function from ward to zone.
“We are also aware that the man has neither applied for nor obtained waiver from our party as this is the only remedy to cure the deficiency.”
Kama said that it had become necessary for the state governor to speak out against such undemocratic disposition.
“We want the voice of the people to be heard. When we had similar problem in 2013 under Gov. Sullivan Chime, it was resolved by calling delegates and contestants for a free and fair contest.
“We gathered at Okpara Square under Chime’s supervision to choose our candidate. We want the governor to adopt same method in resolving this impasse.”
Kama said that gone were the days when a single person would decide the fate of a people.
In a reaction, the Special Adviser to Ekweremadu on Political Matters, Dr. Godwin Udeuhele, said that his principal did not impose any candidate on his people.
Udeuhele said that the said candidate emerged through a consensus, adding that Ekweremadu was simply playing his role as a father in Enugu West Senatorial Zone.
“Ekweremadu is a democrat and cannot impose a candidate. He is playing the role he does in the entire zone,” he said.
The former commissioner for information said there were two contestants to the position but the favoured candidate emerged.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protesters carried placards with the inscriptions: ‘This imposition will kill Aninri’, ‘Redeem your image, your excellency’, ‘Imposition will lead to mass defection to APC’.
NAN further reports that candidates of the party in the Nov. 4 local government election are selected on ‘consensus’ basis without any contest.