The Movement for Biafrans in Nigeria, MOBIN, has accused the Chekwas Okorie-led United Progressive Party, UPP, of changing the delegates list for the primary of the party in order to favour a certain interest. This is just as one of the two governorship aspirants of the party, Hon Chudi Offodile, called on the party to stick to due process by adhering to the guidelines and constitution of the party in all its activities.
Addressing newsmen in Awka last Thursday ahead of the party’s primary election slated for Saturday, August 19, in his office, Offodile described as illegal, the alteration of the delegates list of the party, insisting that no organ of the party could unilaterally remove a ward chairman, secretary or indeed, any officer duly elected, and engage in what he called whimsical replacements.
It will be recalled that the Anambra State Chapter of the UPP had recently announced the suspension of its two guber aspirants, Offodile and Osita Chidoka, on trumped up charges, a development that was followed by the dissolution of the state executive committee of UPP by the national headquarters of the party.
But Offodile said such action reminded one about happenings in the military era, describing the action of the national headquarters as beyond its powers.
‘If the action of the state executive was curious, equally curious was the reaction of the national headquarters. Why dissolve a state executive committee four days to a primary election in which the state executive committee has crucial roles to play? Offodile queried.
He said that it was the threat by the national headquarters that triggered what he called the indiscriminate and bizarre suspensions unleashed by the state exco on August 15, even as he referred to an interim order by an FCT High Court which directed the defendants to follow the party’s timetable/guidelines and constitution in all their activities, pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.
He gave the issues at stake as whether elected and inaugurated members of the local government and ward committees could be unilaterally amended or altered by any member of the party outside the local government area congress and ward congress that elected them; as well as whether any member or any other person of the party, other than the state chairman, could preside over the state congress for the governorship election in line with Article 12 (11) and (35) and Article 23 (3) of the party constitution.
He said that the two issues must be resolved in order to preserve and protect the integrity of the party’s primary election, especially following the court order for the adherence of the party to due process.
But reacting to developments in the party, MOBIN which says it is an affiliate of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, under the leadership of Committee of Elders, stated that it had become necessary for it to address the public on its quest for the self-determination of the Biafran people through due process of the law, which, it pointed out, included political, diplomatic and judicial processes.
Speaking through its director general, Mrs Eberechukwu Anigbogu, MOBIN said it had consequently reached an agreement with the national leadership of UPP to form a partnership for building the party as a Biafran brand.
On the trending matter in the party, MOBIN said it was against established democratic norms, while condemning what it called the fragrant violations and bizarre abuses perpetrated by the leadership of the UPP at national level, as led by Chief Chekwas Okorie.
It said the UPP national leadership instead of ratifying the delegates’ list for conducting the Anambra State governorship primaries, chose to sit in its Abuja national secretariat to mutilate the list by adding and removing names, re-designating several elected officials, with the single aim of deciding for their nefarious purpose, those who should be the delegates for the Anambra primaries against the express provisions of the UPP Constitution and the Electoral Act.
‘This was done in such a bizarre manner that a particular candidate has already been favoured by the doctoring that went on across board in all the LGAs of the state. This act of impunity saw a man taking up the position of women’s leader in some wards, dead people taking the posts of chairmen and many chairmen downgraded as vice or other offices.
‘Some were even taken off completely. What an act of rascality by people bestowed with public trust!,’ she stated.
Using the Anambra East LGA Ward executive list as an example of the said mutilation that occurred in all the LGAs, MOBIN claimed that Anambra East LGA had a total of 15 wards which gave a total of 75 delegates. It said that each produced 5 delegates namely: Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Women’s Leader, and Youth Leader.
She said that in Nando Ward III, the entire list was excluded by the national, even as it also gathered that the reason for the ‘strange exclusions of some ward lists by the national exco was for the perceived absence of party members loyal to their favoured candidate, and replacements of which they were working out as we speak.
‘These illegal and fraudulent re-designation and replacements of elected officials is purposely meant to deny these authentically elected ward executives their rights to vote at the Anambra guber primary. As said, in some cases, the entire lists submitted by the State EXCO for some wards were totally thrown out and new names imported. It is important to state at this juncture that many of these imports are not UPP members but drafted for the purpose of using them for the primaries only.
‘How can you go to primary with this level of manipulation and criminality? Where’s is the Biafra Ideology? Where’s the fairness? Where is the Democracy the UPP has promised?’ she queried.
Consequently, the group vowed never to be part of a system that upheld injustice, criminality and impunity, adding that it could never support any candidate that emerged from the skewed process, even if he was a pro-Biafran.
It said that MOBIN, being a political arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra that went into an alliance with UPP, insisted that the party must do what was right before the law by respecting the party constitution.
The DG of Movement of Biafrans in Nigeria, MOBIN, Mrs Eberechukwu Anigbogu, 2nd from right, reading an address at a press briefing to protest what they called mutilation of delegates list by the UPP hierarchy, Aug 17, 2017, in Awka.