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Ogbulafor: Up Against a Delicate Challenge

Leaders are chosen to manage men and resources for the good of the organisation. Sometimes, that means being strong and resolute in facing people and telling them to shape up or ship out. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, faced such a moment Tuesday. After over one month of trying to suture cracks that developed in the Anambra State chapter of the party following a controversial governorship

election nomination on October 9, it was time for Ogbulafor to tell non-conforming members they will have to leave the party if they maintain their objections. He did just that during the inauguration of the state’s PDP caretaker committee –the latest outward manifestation of the crisis within the party.  
Despite the stiff resistance from a PDP faction in Anambra State, Ogbulafor says the choice of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, as the party’s governorship candidate ahead of the February 6 next year’s election in the state is final.
“There will be no going back. We stand firm on the decision of the party, the decision of the party is supreme. So no matter what ever happens, we are not going to rescind our decision but rather to build on it to make sure that Chukwuma Soludo is given all the necessary backing by the party to win the election come 2010,” the PDP national chairman declares at the swearing in of the committee, headed by the Osita Ogbu. “Every party or association and town union has constitution that guides them. If you come into an association you better abide by the constitution of that association or town union. When you don’t like it, you quietly walk out.”
Ogbulafor seems to have all the backing “from above” in his present mission to establish order with a firm hand in the crisis-ridden Anambra chapter. He had, reportedly, returned from an Aso Rock summon before pronouncing the marching orders.
But in pursuit of his goals in the party, Ogbulafor appears to come into conflict with the judiciary.
Soludo’s selection had been conducted in disobedience of an Anambra State High Court order. And in alignment with that order, an Abuja High Court on October 23 directed Soludo to stop parading himself as the PDP candidate, pending a final decision on a suit brought by some governorship aspirants from the state.
Ogbulafor has not hidden his aversion for court intervention in the Anambra matter. He believes, “PDP has a constitution that guides us and we stick to our constitution and we don’t see why people should be taking the party to court. The party you belong and you take us to court, it is unbecoming.”
Many think this is not the language of a statesman.
Ogbulafor seems to have a special dislike for fair competition since emerging PDP National Chairman on March 8 last year, under a controversial consensus arrangement, in a special convention.
Former National Auditor of PDP and factional chairman of the party in Enugu State, Mr. Ray Nnaji, says Ogbulafor’s disposition has stoked division in the self-styled   Africa’s largest political party. He alleges that Ogbulafor “does not posses the intellectual capacity, credibility and managerial ability to manage any form of party pressure.”
According to Nnaji, “Ogbulafor has not reconciled any state chapter that has problem, rather, the method of intervention has escalated the crises.”
Born 1949, Ogbulafor, a Prince of Olokoro, in Umuahia South Local Government of Abia State, was National Secretary of PDP before emerging its National Chairman. His tenure as national chairman has been marred by disagreement in many state chapters of the party.
Although, Ogbulafor’s tenure has also witnessed the highest high profile defections to PDP. No one knows if he is the attraction. But one thing is sure: Ogbulafor’s seeming aversion for courts and fair contest is certainly a repulsion to everything agreeable to democracy.