Anambra guber: Chris Uba’s candidate disqualified

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cleared only 13 candidates in the last batch of screening, bringing the number of politicians qualified to contest the governorship primary to 47 thus dashing the hope of some gubernatorial aspirants. The Appeal Screening Com-mittee led by Deputy Senate President Ike

Ekweremadu disqualified the former state chairman of the party, Chief Uchenna Emordi, and two other governorship aspirants. Emordi is being backed by PDP chieftain Chris Uba.

Those cleared are Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Mr. Mba Nkechiyelu, Bernard Okeke, Prof. Ilochi Okafor (SAN), Dr. Solomon Ekwene, Kenneth Odidika and Obigeli Okeke-Okwubanego.

Also given the go-ahead for the September 28 primaries are Victor O. Ezenwa, Udemzue Chukwura, Ifeoma Ebe, Susan Ekwunife, Mr. Emmanuel Efobi, Basil Iwuoba and Okolo Damian Chibuzo.
Ekweremadu disclosed that 17 aspirants appeared before the committee and that 14 were cleared following a thorough examination of their appeal petitions.
Giving details of the work of the appeal screening committee, the Deputy Senate President said: “Although Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu’s qualification was withdrawn after earlier qualification because he stood election against the PDP in 2007, but he had represented PDP in the House of Representatives, returned to PDP on August 1 2007 and received by his ward and the state executive of the party.
“The decision of the National Working Committee (NWC), the Board of Trustees on Ekwueme report suffices as clearance of his membership and therefore he is cleared to contest the primary governorship election.”
The reasons for their earlier disqualification ranged from non-presentation of membership cards and proper documentation as well as lack of evidence of party membership.
But the chairman of the appeal screening committee said that it was discovered that there were errors after a review. Emordi was not however lucky as the committee said that he did not resign his office 30 days to the commencement of the screening. He was disqualified on that basis.
Also disqualified are Vera Nwobi and Chief Chika Ibeneme. The former was denied clearance  on grounds that there was no evidence of membership while the latter was accused of failing to produce a membership card and a current tax clearance paid as at when due.
Thirty-three aspirants were screened and approved last Friday to contest the primary. Seventeen were disqualified after which they appealed the decision. Fourteen have now been approved while three were disqualified.
Meanwhile, indications have emerged that the plot to remove the National Chairman of the party, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, may have fallen apart. Sources told THISDAY that some members of the party realised that his removal could spell doom for PDP.
“My colleagues came to the realisation that the South-east zone would easily give in to the removal of Ogbulafor alone, and then it is better to go along with him than to push for his removal,” said a source.
He continued: “some of us came to this position by reflecting on what happened to the removal of the former national chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh, where the entire NWC ganged up against him and later he was removed and the then new chairman, Dr. Ahamdu Ali refused to work with the remaining members of the NWC on the ground that they were tainted and biased and gradually, they were all removed.”
 It was gathered that after Ogbeh was replaced by Ali, the latter refused to work with other members of the NWC and all the other zones were asked to replace their representatives at the NWC. This factor has influenced the antagonists who have made a u-turn.
Besides, the Forum of PDP South-east chairmen has passed a vote of confidence on Ogbulafor.
In a memo to members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party signed by the party chairmen in Ebonyi state, Mr. David Umahi, Abia state, Chief Ndidi Okereke, Imo state, Chief Marcell-enius Nlemigbo, and Mr. Vita Abba said that they are united in their support for Ogbulafor.
 “We are not unaware of the mischievous attempts by disgruntled elements to stigmatise the person of the National Chairman in the proverbial sense of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
“In spite of these, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor remains, without any reservation, our preferred National Chairman for our great party,” said the chairmen.
They also listed the achievements of Ogbulafor, including the return of internal democracy and winning of several by-elections.
One of the chairmen explained that they resolved to stand by Ogbulafor in order to prove wrong the impression that Igbos are incapable of retaining leadership. Others that rallied behind Ogbulafor include the FCT Caucus of the South-east led by Prof. Njoku who insisted that the national chairman had done his best to unite the party.
He referred to how almost all the South-east states produced the senate presidency in the era of President Olusegun Obasanjo and said: “this time around, we must say no to this.”
It was further gathered that Ogbulafor is making effort to retain his post by sending out several emissaries to the state governors and influential members of the NEC. The national chairman is also said to have made peace with President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Ogbulafor had been accused of several shortcomings by some party members. Consequently, the President urged the party’s NWC to summon a NEC meeting which is scheduled for Thursday, September 24.
Two ministers from the South-east zone were earlier speculated as possible successors.