For working against the tenets of democracy and showing disrespect to human life, principles which are contrary to the Biafran ideology, the United People’s Party, UPP, has failed Biafra. These were the opinions of the former guber aspirant on the party’s platform, Hon Chudi Offodile, and a pro-Biafra group, Movement of Biafrans in Nigeria, MOBIN, Jude Atupulazi reports.
Briefing newsmen in Awka in the wake of the UPP gubernatorial primary election also in Awka, Chudi Offodile, who withdrew from the primary over alleged doctoring of the delegates list, announced his resignation from UPP.
According to the two-time Federal House member, apart from the wilful and corrupt manipulation of the party delegates list by the national chairman of the party, Chekwas Okorie, the party’s gross insensitivity to the life of a party member who slumped and died at the accreditation venue, finally convinced him that UPP was not the right party for people of good conscience.
He recalled that despite his call on the party to call off the primary as a mark of respect to the dead, the party went ahead with the said primary which, he alleged, was doctored to favour his opponent, Osita Chidoka.
He said it was what compelled him to reconsider his continued membership of UPP, hence his resignation.Offodile’s resignation came at the same time that a pro-Biafra group, Movement of Biafrans in Nigeria, MOBIN, is also considering opting out of its alliance with UPP.
Its spokesman and administrator, Comrade Anthony Aniebue, who stated this at a press briefing in Awka, condemned UPP led by Chief Chekwas Okorie for, according to him, acting against all known democratic norms.
In his media briefing, Offodile recalled how efforts he made to draw the attention of the party hierarchy to the doctored list before the primary failed to have the desired effect.
He accused the party leadership of reversing and doctoring the delegates list that emanated from their ward and local government congress in June this year which was signed by the state chairman and secretary and counter signed by the national headquarters of the party.
He said that everyone was surprised when a new list that contained strange names was later published on the party’s website on July 29 and variously amended on the 4th and 5th of August.
‘The website list contained strange names with no phone numbers unlike the authentic delegates list that had phone numbers of all delegates displayed,’ Offodile said.
He further alleged that when accreditation commenced on the day of the primary election, he was informed that only those whose names appeared on the website list were being allowed into the venue, a development, he said, that prompted him to drive to the venue to hand a protest letter to the election committee chairman, Chief Ejike Uche, and the state party chairman, Dr Sylvester Igwilo.
He said that after threatening them with withdrawal from the primary if they insisted on using the allegedly doctored list, he also went to the office of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, to register his protest.Offodile said he did not appoint any agent or participate in what he called the Kangaroo primary.
He said that it was in the midst of the scuffle trailing the disenfranchising of some delegates that the police fired tear gas canisters on the crowd, leading to the slumping and death of a delegate, Hon Uwakwe Maduabuchi, chairman of Owerre Ezukala Ward 1, Orumba South LGA.
He said the deceased, even though his name appeared on the list, was fighting the injustice of the exclusion of some of his members whose names had appeared on the original list.
He said that following the man’s death, his call to the election committee to call off the exercise in deference to the dead fell on deaf ears.
‘When the call fell on deaf ears and considering that my Christian faith and the Biafran ideology we profess place a high premium on human life, I promptly withdrew from the exercise. I consider it unconscionable for the party to have carried on with the primary under the circumstances,’ Offodile explained.
He expressed regret that despite the party’s constitutional provision that only a ward congress could replace those elected officers whose names went missing from the new list, the national chairman, Okorie, unilaterally replaced them across the 264 wards in the state, thus giving himself, what Offodile called preference shares in the primary and in his ”dream government” in Anambra State.
Offodile therefore called on his supporters and all those who believed in Biafra’s ideology of freedom and justice to do same, while awaiting further directives from him.
When contacted for his reaction, the state chairman of the party, Dr Sylvester Igwilo, said there was no need to talk about the issues raised by Offodile since Offodile had left the party.
Igwilo said the primary which he had no powers to stop, had been done and dusted and that there was no further need to revisit it, especially after he had earlier spoken extensively on it.’There’s no point crying over spilt milk. The primary has come and gone,’ Igwilo stated.
Hon Chudi Offodile displaying the list of delegates allegedly doctored by UPP leadership for the primary election of the party.