Wednesday, November 5, 2014 7:44 pm
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
The raging battle between Enugu state Governor Sullivan Chime and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu took another dimension on Wednesday following an order of court secured by members of the recently elected ward delegates loyal to the deputy senate president.
The court order restrained the Peoples Democratic Party, it’s national chairman, secretary and National Working Committee, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from taking any step or receiving and acting on any purported report or list of candidates or persons purporting to be the list of elected delegates at the ward congress held in Enugu state on 1st November, 2014, from any person or persons other than the Electoral Committee constituted by the party, pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The plaintiffs in the suit, Barr Orji Chinenye Godwin, Chief C C Akalusi and Chief Orji C Orji, suing for themselves and behalf of all Delegates elected on the 1st of November, 2014, at the Ward Congress held for Enugu state, had approached a federal high court in Abuja claiming that they, among others, were issued with letters of appointment by the defendants as members of the Electoral Committee for ward congress in Enugu state.
They said that on the 1st of November, in line with the guidelines and constitution of the PDP, they conducted elections at the 360 wards in Enugu state for the election of 3 delegates per ward in the state.
They added that as the electoral committee members, they duly prepared their report and presented same with the list of the electoral delegates at the said election to the defendants who however refused and or neglected to collect the said report and the list of successfully elected delegates, and claimed that the purported list sought to be received and acted upon by the PDP and it’s listed national officials, are from persons other than the electoral committee members who were duly appointed by the party.
They told the court that the defendants refusal to receive the list of elected delegates from the electoral committee appointed by them, is aimed at receiving and relying on a purported list of persons who were not candidates and did not win the said delegate election in the 260 wards in the state.
Furthermore, the plaintiffs told the court that the party have concluded arrangements to submit the purported list or elected delegates that purportedly emerged from the ward congresses conducted in the Enugu state to INEC and that unless the party and it’s national officials are restrained, they will not receive and act on the report of its own electoral committee and the list of names of the plaintiffs and other persons duly elected at the said ward congress.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, granted the order of interim injunction restraining the PDP, it’s national chairman, and other officials, from from taking any step on any purported report or list of candidates or persons purporting to be the list of elected delegates at the ward congress from any person or persons other than the Electoral Committee constituted by the party.
The court also granted an order for substituted service on the defendants through the legal department of the PDP at the party’s headquarters in Abuja and fixed hearing on the substantive motion on notice for Friday.
Ekweremadu and the governor have been at war over who will represent the Enugu West senatorial district at the senate come 2015. While Ekweremadu is gunning to return to the red chambers, the governor whose second and final term of office as the state governor will elapse on 29th May, 2015, is also gunning to move to the senate as has become the practice for outgoing governors.
The deputy senate president and his supporters view Governor Sullivan Chime’s senatorial ambition as an attempt to diminish Ekweremadu’s rising political profile and retire him prematurely from active politics especially given the fact that the governor had zoned the 2015 governorship ticket to Enugu-North.
While the governor is relying heavily on traditional rulers in the state to mobilise support for his senatorial ambition on the basis of what the traditional rulers claimed as the governor’s selfless leadership qualities and his unprecedented achievements as a governor, Ekweremadu has been endorsed by some reverend fathers and church groups led by firebrand priest, Revd Fr. Ejike Mbaka, who recently endorsed Ekweremadu for the senate in the 2015 general election during a weekly prayer vigil at the Adoration Ministry ground in Enugu
Some top state government officials and commissioners in the Chime cabinet, are reportedly supporting the deputy senate president secretly as a fallout of the recent impeachment of the state’s former deputy governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, which was blamed on the governor. Revd Fr. Mbaka had described the impeachment of the former Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi as a demonstration of wicked politics by the governor.