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UPP GOVERNORSHIP PRIMARY ELECTION: THE MANY LIES OF HON. CHUDI OFFODILE

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It will be recalled that the United Progressive Party (UPP) held its Governorship Primary Election on Saturday 19th August, 2017 at Awka, Anambra State. Two aspirants namely Hon. Chudi Offodile and Chief Osita Chidoka met the Party’s conditions to participate in the Primary election. It is important to note that UPP had held its non-election Convention at Awka on Thursday 29th June 2017. One of the highlights of that Convention that was well attended, monitored by INEC and extensively covered by local and international media is the ratification of the Motion recognizing the harmonization of the Officers of the Party in the 36 States of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as Officers functioning in acting capacities pending our subsequent election convention. This ratification at the Convention followed the approval of the appointment of these unelected officers by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great Party.

It is therefore a barefaced lies when Hon. Chudi Offodile informed the public through many newspaper publications that UPP in Anambra State at any point in time leading to the Primary election conducted what he mischievously referred to as a “hotly contested Local Government Congress in June 2017 in line with Article 10(4) of the UPP Constitution.”
Chudi Offodile should be honourable enough to inform the public the names of the Electoral Committee members that conducted the so-called “hotly

contested Local Government Congress.” It is normal that before a Local Government Congress is conducted, Ward Congress precedes it. But this unintelligent character made no reference to any Ward Congress that would normally precede a Local Government Congress. In accordance with the Section of the Constitution of the Party he chose to cite. The truth is that the National Working Committee (NWC), acting on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC), gave approval to the Anambra State stakeholders of the Party made up of National Officers of the Party from the State, members of the national Board of Trustees from the State, members of the State Working Committee (SWC), Chairmen of the 21 Local Governments in Anambra State to recommend to the NWC, acting Officers of the 326 Wards in Anambra State for consideration and approval. This was done. A few complaints followed the list of the recommended Officers and the complaints that had merit were duly considered and the approved list duly uploaded at the UPP website on Friday 14th July, 2017.
It is pertinent to state at this point that the UPP had amended its Constitution following due process to the effect that delegates from the Wards to the State Congress shall be statutory delegates made up of the Ward Chairman, Ward Secretary, Ward Treasurer, Ward Woman Leader and Ward Youth Leader. Hon. Offodile participated in the Convention where this amendment was made and duly filed with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as required by law. On Thursday the 27th of July, 2017, Hon. Offodile voluntarily procured the Party’s Expression of Interest Form having paid the required fee. He completed and returned same to the Party. Himself and interested members of the Party and the general public were already aware of who the delegates of the Party would be at least eight weeks before the State Primary Election was held on Saturday 19th August, 2017.
Hon. Offodile proceeded, again voluntarily, to pay for and collected the Party Nomination Form on Monday 31st July 2017. On Friday 11th August 2017, Hon. Offodile accompanied by Dr. Law Mefor, his campaign aide appeared before the Party’s Screening Committee presided over by our National Secretary, Alhaji Sadeeq Masalla. Unknown to the Party, Offodile had sponsored Suit No. CV/2658/17 at the FCT High Court filed on the date of his Screening praying the Court to halt our planned State Congress. The Court in its wisdom, refused to grant an ex parte order but rather ruled on an Order of Court abridging the time for the Defendants to respond to the Originating Summons and that the party should be put on notice, that the scheduled Party’s  Primary election should proceed in accordance with the Party guidelines and the Electoral Act and adjourned for the substantive application to be heard on Tuesday 29th August, 2017.
Hon. Offodile continued with his mischief by instigating a few members of the State Working Committee in Anambra State to lay claims to powers that were not conferred on them by the Party Constitution. They relied on such claims of non-existent powers to address a press conference at Awka suspending the only two aspirants of the party and two other National Officers of the party from Anambra State, including calling off the State Primary election for which due notice had been given to INEC and other preparations/logistics put in place. The party leadership acted swiftly by dissolving the acting State Working Committee and reassured the public that the planned State Congress was on course. Hon. Offodile allowed his name to be included among those who were suspended by the Acting State Working Committee only as a facade. Overwhelming members of the acting State Working Committee promptly issued a joint statement to dissociate themselves from the contents of the press conference under reference which obviously ridiculed the party before the public.
On Wednesday 16th August 2017, the National Chairman of our party, Chief Dr. Chekwas Okorie hosted Hon. Chudi Offodile and Chief Osita Chidoka alongside two of their aides to a breakfast meeting at his Enugu residence. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibilities of these two old-time friends agreeing to approach the Primary Election as friends so that the outcome could be like a UPP family affair without rancor. It was agreed that each would abide by the outcome of the Primary Election. On Thursday 17th August 2017, the Chairman of our great party in Anambra State Dr. Sylvester Igwilo accompanied by the State Acting Secretary Mr. Fidelis Okafor with a fairly large contingent of our members in Anambra State to apologize to the party for the embarrassment and inconvenience caused the party and the undeserved damage done to the name and person of the National Chairman, Chief Okorie. They promised to address the press upon their return to Awka to make public their apology and the appeal for forgiveness. The National Chairman did not hesitate to pardon them especially after they had confessed to how Hon. Chudi Offodile misled them into carrying out their rebellion against the party and its leadership. On their return to Awka, they addressed a press conference on Friday 18th August 2017. Part of the Press Conference speech read by Dr. Sylvester Igwilo and signed by himself and the State Acting Secretary Filedis Okafor read as follows:
“That the various allegations peddled against the National Chairman of UPP Chief (Dr) Chekwas Okorie are spurious and unfounded. The SWC, while reaffirming our loyalty to the National Working Committee and the National Chairman of the Party, regret the inconveniences and damage the unfounded allegations might have caused his reputation and the Party.
All others who were suspended are absolved of all allegations and the suspension hereby lifted.”
In the evening of Friday 18th August 2017, the Congress Committee led by the Deputy National Chairman (South) of our Party, Chief Chris Ejike Uche invited the aspirants individually to sign an undertaking, as is the standard practice, that they would abide by the outcome of the Party Primary Election. Hon. Offodile was the first to honour the invitation. He only suggested that the undertaking should include additional clause that the Primary election should be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the party Constitution. His suggestion was considered and accepted. He left promising to come back later that evening to sign the amended document once the amendment had been effected. The Committee waited for Hon. Offodile till 11pm. He did not come. When he was reminded that he was being waited for to sign the document, he said he would do so in the morning of Saturday 19th August being the day of the Congress.
The Congress Committee in its wisdom opted to carry out the accreditation of Party delegates at  De Geo-Gold Hotel which is quite a distance at the Emmaus House, Venue of the Primary Election. Accredited delegates were conveyed to the venue of the election by dedicated transport arrangement. At a point when over 1000 delegates had been accredited and conveyed to the venue of the Congress, Hon. Offodile surfaced and presented a letter that he was no longer satisfied with the delegates list for the Primary Election. He did not indicate in the letter that he would not participate in the Primary election and he did not withdraw his agent who was already at the venue of  the Primary election to represent him.
Shortly after Chudi Offodile submitted his letter and left, all hell was let loose. We have it on good authority that he had hired hundreds of thugs to disrupt  the accreditation of delegates for the Primary Election. His hired thugs struck only when he left the venue obviously at his behest. It was in the attempt by the Police and other security agents to repel the thugs from carrying out a planned mayhem that they fired teargas into the rampaging crowd. It was this melee that took the life of Hon. Uwakwe Maduabuchi, the late Ward Chairman of UPP in Owerre Ezukala Ward I in Orumba South LGA of Anambra State.
The party is not now in a position to state whether our late party Ward Chairman died as a result of stampede or the teargas that was fired by the Police. But the party immediately sent emissaries to the family of the deceased to convey to them the sad news and inform them of our intention to visit the family the following day, Sunday 20th August, 2017. The Congress Committee led party officials and the elected Party candidate Chief Osita Chidoka to visit the family of the deceased where we commiserated with them and offered to participate every manner required by tradition and religion to accord him a befitting burial. The Police are investigating the circumstances that led to the death of our Chairman. We are however not surprised that Hon. Chudi Offodile promptly ran to the media to make spurious claims as to the cause of death and reason for the public disorder that resulted to the death of this party official. We hope the Police will soon clear the air so that the public will know who indeed instigated the riot that resulted in this tragedy. Contrary to the impression that Hon. Chudi Offodile has given to the public through his spurious allegations the Congress Committee accredited over 1400 delegates. The election went on peacefully without any disturbance at a safe distance at Emmaus House, Awka under the watchful monitoring of INEC and accredited media. At the end of the exercise Hon. Offodile scored 87 votes or about 7% of the total vote cast, approximately 50% of total accredited delegates of his Awka North and South Primary constituencies being an indigene of Awka. On the other hand Chief Osita Chidoka scored over 90% of the total votes cast which showed a very strong and powerful grassroots acceptance of his candidature by party delegates who in turn will be actively involved in the campaigns ahead.
It is unfortunate that Hon. Chudi Offodile could be so desperate as to engage in some of the things he did. Those he used to commit obvious criminal case of perjury and forgery have been reported to the Police for necessary action. The party is fully prepared to meet him at the FCT High Court, Abuja for the civil matter he sponsored against the party even while he pretended to be part of the Primary Election process. We are not surprised that he was quick to resign from the party on his Facebook page and later on the pages of newspapers, knowing the obvious implication of dragging the image of the party in the mud and dragging the party to Court without first exhausting the party’s internal machinery for dispute resolution. Before Chudi Offodile joined UPP he had been a two-term member of House of Representatives of which the second term was aborted midway through the legal process for the irregularities in his election. While in PDP he contested for the party’s National Publicity Secretary and was known to have exhibited similar desperation when he lost to Chief Olisa Metuh for the post of National Publicity Secretary. He resigned and joined APGA where he lost nomination twice, first to contest for Senate and secondly to contest for Governor. Again in frustration and desperation he resigned from APGA. It is this character that came to UPP to carry out a hatchet job of destroying a party he did not participate in its formation. We wish to assure the Nigerian public that in the final analysis the UPP Primary Election in Anambra State for the 2017 Governorship election will be adjudged the most transparent, credible, free and fair election carried out on a level playing field.

CHIEF DIKE OGBUEHI
NATIONAL PUBLICITY SECRETARY
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