*Says he remains the authentic candidate
By Clifford Ndujihe
WITH the defection of Senator Uche Ekwunife to the All Progressives Congress, APC, after the Court of Appeal voided her election over invalid nomination as Anambra Central senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, who is also laying claim to the ticket, has urged the PDP leadership to use the opportunity to redress all anomalies hallmarking the process.
Okonkwo, who still has a case in an Abuja High Court where he went to contest Ekwunife’s right to the party’s ticket, said handing him the ticket is the surest way of resolving the crises the party is enmeshed in over the issue.
The politician said he is not opposed to a fresh primary to select a popular candidate for the PDP. Asked if he would partake in the primary, he said, “the question actually is not that I am running for primary, but that I remain the big contender for the seat.”
On what would happen to his case in court if he won the fresh primary, Okonkwo said, “my participation is without prejudice to any court case. Those processes are tests of popularity. And any party man will not shy away from any process.”
Indeed, his campaign body, the Dikeora Campaign Organization, in a statement by its Director-General, Chief (Arch) Okey Chukwuogo, stressed the reasons Dr Okonkwo should be given the ticket.
According to Chukwuogo, Dr Okonkwo is ‘’the authentic candidate who was illegally displaced by Ekwunife’s imposition. Dr. Okonkwo still has a subsisting pre-election suit in which, if he prevails, would result in declaring him the duly elected Senator. Furthermore, it was due to the confidence that Dr. Okonkwo’s candidature would be ultimately validated that led to the almost 40,000 votes garnered by the PDP in Idemili North and Idemili South where Dr. Okonkwo hails from. This is in addition to the quantum votes scored in the entire senatorial zone on account of Dr. Okonkwo’s presumptive status as the lawful candidate.’’