Court dispute resumes tomorrow
Chief Jonathan Edeoga today inches closer to the crown as Enugu Labour Party governorship candidate as INEC clears his candidacy.
Significantly, Edeoga’s name appeared this morning in a list of INEC governorship candidates for Enugu State.
The INEC State Office pasted a list of candidates cleared to contest the governorship on a notice board today 4 October 2023.
Other notable governorship candidates on the list are PDP’s Peter Mbah and APC’s Uche Nnaji.
Edeoga therefore clears one of two major hurdles to scale in the race to contest the Enugu governorship election.
However, there is another hurdle in the form of court dispute to determine the rightful Labour candidate.
A federal judge will tomorrow, 5 October, in Abuja continue efforts to unravel the rightful candidate.
Capt. Everest Ngene challenged in court his exclusion from the primaries organised by his party with Edeoga as sole candidate.
Nnaji, popularly called Odengene, told the court that Edeoga emerged through a kangaroo primaries conducted behind his Enugu home.
He fulfilled all Party requirements only for the party chair to cleverly disallow his participation in the primaries contest, he said
Nnaji said that “desperation” drove Enugu Labour to hijack the process and conduct a primary that listed Edeoga as sole candidate.
The Odengene Challenge
Capt Nnaji’s Campaign Organisation pointedly accused State party chairman, Mr. Casmir Agbo, of the alleged duplicity.
Mr. Okey Ezirigwe, director-general of Odengene People’s Movement, (OPM), levied the accusation in a statement.
Ezirigwe accused Agbo of manipulating the process to favour Edeoga whom he said was a classmate of the Chairman.
He outlined seven questions for the State party hierarchy to answer in order to demonstrate transparency of the process:
“Did Nnaji purchase the Labour party Gubernatorial expression of interest and nomination form or not?
“Was he given a waiver after he met the party’s conditions for waiver?
“Did Nnaji fulfill the requirements for becoming the party’s flag bearer or not?
“Was Nnaji at any point disqualified from participating in the primaries he fully paid for and met all conditions to emerge the consensus candidate as contained in the party guidelines?
“How did he (Edeoga) appear as the sole candidate as seen in the amateur videos from the purported primaries that ‘produced’ him?
“Why was the kangaroo primaries secretly held in a beer parlour located at the back of his private residence?
“Why is he afraid of a genuinely conducted and contested primaries if he trusted his eligibility and popularity?”
Ezirigwe therefore argued that the Labour Party “has its peculiar guidelines for the conduct of its governorship primaries.
“In this regard, Capt. Evarest Nnaji fulfilled all the guidelines to emerge as a consensus candidate in an anticipated affirmative primary election.
“It was on that basis that the national leadership of the Labour party issued him with the INEC nomination form which he filled.” Ezirigwe said.
Edeoga, the presumptive candidate, had argued on a radio programme that Ngene was disqualified for not purchasing nomination form from his personal bank account.
Ezirigwe however scoffed at the idea, saying nothing legally disqualifies a contestant from using a company he owned to buy forms.
The court continues the hearing tomorrow.
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Enugu Governorship: INEC clears Edeoga to run.