Stakeholders of the People’s Democratic Party in Ebonyi State have urged the National Working Committee of the opposition Party to accept in good fate, the sacking of Mr. Toochukwu Okorie as the Chairman of the Party in order to redeem the tottering prospects of the Party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Recall that an Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed in a recent judgment declared that Okorie who was declared winner during the October 16, 2021Congress of the Party in the State was not validly nominated to be qualified for the exercise.
In it’s declaratory judgment, Justice Ahmed ordered the immediate swearing in of Okorie’s lone opponent, Silas Onu as the validly nominated and only rightful candidate of the Party in the congress.
In a Press release welcoming the decision issued yesterday in the State capital, Abakaliki and jointly signed on behalf of about a hundred stakeholders of the Party in the State by Hon. Enyi Miracle O from
Abakaliki LGA, representing Ebonyi North Senatorial zone, Chief Kelvin Awoke, Ezza South LGA, representing Ebonyi Central Senatorial zone and Elder Nkama Wifred Okoro, Afikpo South LGA, representing Ebonyi South Senatorial zone, the stakeholders urged, “That our Party leaders should immediately comply with the verdict of the Court by embracing Onu and empowering and supporting him to return the Party to a path of glory and honour pending the outcome of the appeal reportedly filed by Mr. Okorie.”
They argued that “to act otherwise, we believe will not only weaken the Party but also present it as not being law-abiding. Actions taken under Okorie could therefore be interpreted as null, void and illegal should aggrieved aspirants decide to challenge it in a court of competent jurisdiction.
That our Party leaders should ignore, completely whatever propaganda which those who are mis (leading) Okorie by the nose have been dishing to the public that some extraneous acting against our Party were behind his ouster. Those who knew Onu pretty well from his days of activism in unionism in UNIJOS knows very well that he is a man given to fighting for his rights no matter the cost. For us, Okorie is, without sounding immodest very unfit to occupy the position and lead our Party to victory in 2023 and he should just go and rest and enjoy whatever he must have gotten from the Party”, the statement read.
While calling for calm and support from all Party leaders and supporters, it added, “we encourage our Party members and teeming supporters in Ebonyi who Okorie has been trying hard to brainwash that he has not been sacked and he is still in charge that to ignore him and his very desperate antics to clinge unto power.
In the eyes of the law, until a Court of higher authority decides otherwise, Okorie remains sacked and shouldn’t be dealt with in this critical time as the Chairman of our great Party in our dear Ebonyi State. We know that they are contemplating and banking on the Party’s leadership to proffer a political solution to the problem, but that is capable of sinking the PDP completely in Ebonyi. Our leaders at Wadatta Plaza must therefore be firm to stand by truth, equity, fairness and justice as pertaining the Chairmanship position of our great Party in Ebonyi State”, it stated.
While accusing former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim and his allies of selfishness, the stakeholders claimed,
“with profound respect to his previous political positions held and personage, Anyim betrayed the trust and confidence reposed on him by the Ebonyi PDP faithful when in the buildup to the Party’s congress in October last year he rooted for and successfully imposed on the Party leaders, stakeholders and supporters, one Mr. Toochukwu Okorie- an Abuja-based Accountant who had literally had no business in politics even at student level needless to talk about the configuration of Ebonyi’s dynamic political demography.”
“We were to authoritatively uncover that the said stooge, Okorie was imposed on our great Party as a sole recommendation of his Personal Assistant, one Mr. Benard Akoma- who is an Okposi kinsman to the unilaterally imposed Chairman, Okorie. The sole aim of the political desperadoes playing the script of Anyim Pius was to install as a State Chairman, a political neophyte that they can very easily and readily control. In other words, such a Chairman’s reasoning ability must be suspended for decisions to be made and a remote used to literally control him from the bedroom of the so-called leader of our Party”, they alleged.
They further alleged that,
“Not even the arguments of some of the National Assembly members that going by the way Umahi and his tyrannical regime was going and dealing with members of the opposition PDP in the State, at least competence and capacity to tackle the many oppressive tendencies of the present government should count first and above every other factor was heeded by Anyim Pius who in most cases insisted that; ‘as the leader of this Party, I pay the piper and therefore I must dictate the tunes!’ Angry NASS lawmakers of course, had to kowtow to his whims and caprices for peace to reign and were forced to swallow their prides, jettison their preferred, more credible and competent alternatives and bent backwards to support a docile-looking Okorie.”
Commenting on the issue of purchase and submission of nomination form by Okorie and the way and manner he emerged at the October Congress, the stakeholders recollected, “First, in their desperate bid to foist Okorie who as at then was (allegedly) still a member of the defunct ANN, Anyim and his co-travelers were clever by half. The truth, without really delving into the merits or otherwise of the matter which is now a subject of litigation is that in their hurry to have their way, they made some fundamental mistakes and breached certain rules of the extant PDP provisions regarding the congress.”
It further argued that “For the purchase of nomination forms which started since August 2021, Okorie and his agents had to actually wait till the expiration of the October 1 deadline for the purchase and submission of his nomination forms. This was despite fact that the deadline was extended for the second time from Friday September 23, 2021 to Friday October 1, 2021 by the Party acting in conformity with Article 10.0 (g) of the Approved Guidelines dealing with Nomination Procedure, which clearly provides that nominations SHALL close seven (7) days to the start of election.
We also readily recall that the Screening committee had summarily disqualified two persons; one Mrs. Benardine Nwakpa and Mr. Ogboji Chinedu and even refused them the privilege of being screened because they both submitted their completed nomination forms on Monday, October 4, 2021. The duo had to as a matter of fact known to us depose to affidavits stating the reason for their ouster from the election process by the Screening Committee of the PDP was as a result of late submission of their nomination forms. Of course they were never screened but totally banished from even appearing before the Screening committee”, they alleged.
They further alleged, “However, in the case of Toochukwu Okorie, the Screening Committee appeared to have washed a man who was even a total alien to our Party off his sins and the laws obviously did not apply to him. The popular phrase in the circles of those who buoyed Okorie to power was that he was the ‘anointed candidate’ and therefore our revered Party’s constitution and guidelines should no longer apply. Others even went to the bizarre extreme of screaming ‘Party is supreme’ just to ensure they had their way, albeit illegally.
Flowing from the aforestated facts therefore, we knew that it was only a matter of time and the law would catch up with usurpers and Lord Manors who threw caution and the rules to the winds. It was obviously unsurprising to many in the know that Honourable Justice Ahmed Mohammed of an Abuja Federal High Court last week sacked Okorie in agreement with the prayers of Silas Onu Esq that having not met up with the Party’s rules and guidelines, he stands disqualified from even participating as a candidate in the congress”, it claimed.
Tracing and recalling the historical victories of the PDP in Ebonyi elections since the return to democratic governance, the stakeholders said, “It is a known fact that Ebonyi, with a voting population of over two million people according to verifiable statistics is one of the South East States that has predominantly remained under the firm control of our beloved Party- the People’s Democratic Party, PDP since the return of democracy in 1999.
Historically, the Party has won virtually all the National and State Legislative seats since the return of democracy but for one or two constituencies won by the then ANPP in 2003 and 2011 elections when it lost an entire Ezza North Local Government and Ezza North/Ishielu Federal Constituencies to the ANPP candidates and also one out of the 24 State constituency to Labour Party in the 2015 elections. In essence, PDP in Ebonyi remains the only Party which genetic codes has permeated the bones, marrows and psyche of literally every Ebonyi village man and woman.
Suffice it to say therefore that the Party has not only performed excellently in elections but have also delivered tangible and credible dividends of democracy to the yearning Ebonyi electorates. The PDP in Ebonyi, we can therefore conclusively say has reasonably lived up to the expectations of the Ebonyi electorates- in keeping with Jeremy Bentham’s philosophy of providing the greatest happiness (through provisions first and foremost; of quality education, good healthcare, road and other physical infrastructures, and indeed, other dividends of democracy) to the greatest number of Ebonyians.”
The Party leaders also accused Okorie of gross incompetence to handle the tasking demands of his office since his imposition in the past six months.
“As faithful and loyal Party men who have paid their dues in the PDP, some of us staying with the Party in thick and in thin since 1999, we have been worried that our initial fears about the competence and capacity of Mr. Okorie to stir the Party’s ship towards success in the 2023 elections have been well founded. Since he assumed duties in October last year, he has not only been led by the nose but has been unable to hold constant meetings with our Party members and leaders especially to reconcile and move the Party forward.
As PDP members faced onslaughts from Umahi, Okorie only sympathizes after days on phone calls while gallivanting and frolicking in Abuja. The best our Party members hear from him is only when he uploads short videos laying claims to be the Chairman while informing of an available Party leader that he is enjoying a plate of pepper soup in an Abuja joint, bar or garden. Our teeming supporters have been seriously embarrassed by such show of shame from a Chairman of a Party whose members are daily arrested, charged under the subjective Ebubeagu and Cybercrime laws of Ebonyi State government and clamped into prison”, they alleged.
“We recall that during a well-publicized civic reception for him in his Okposi community in Ohaozara Local Government Area on the 29th of December 2021, the host and celebrant, Okorie was hobbled out of Okposi to a neighbouring Ugwulangwu community due to fears of possible attacks by members of Ebubeagu in his own community. If he was not a glorified Urban Gorilla who understands the joints, bars and streets of Abuja more than his village in Okposi, he could have hearkened to the admonition to bring in adequate security and ebullient youths of our great Party to the venue to forestall or avert any shameful act especially since that was his first political statement in a State he has been away from since adulthood. His interest from our findings has been how he could line up his pockets and those of his cousins and cronies from PDP leaders, using our beloved Party as a political platform.
Of course, those who interrogated him on his decision to change the location said they were shocked he said he never knew that Umahi’s government could attempt to disrupt such a civic reception. For those of us in Ebonyi, it only rather amplified his unbridled naivety as a toddler not only in the ways and manners of the character of Umahi but in Ebonyi politics in general. Our great Party have since the past nearly six months that he has held sway remained without any leadership focus and direction- almost directionless and that is why most of the leaders seem to have recoiled to their shells while only pursuing their selfish interests and agenda should the Party survive its envisaged post primary battles.”
Cautioning against baseless sentiments and needless propaganda against the verdict, the leaders claimed that, “Since the judgment of the Justice Ahmed-presided Federal High Court Abuja, some of the PDP leaders have once again resorted to the initial rhetorics and unfounded allegations about who is after the soul of the Party and the Chairman. The same mediocre who cooked up stories about Silas Onu being planted by Umahi to destabilize the PDP have continued with their propaganda- which are all fat lies that can never pass through a lie detector unnoticed because both the Umahis and Onu are still in Court over some of his brave actions against the Ebonyi Emperor when he was the Party’s Publicity Secretary.”