Within the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a faction called the Independent Leaders Forum (ILF) has advised against seeking to impose a deputy governorship candidate on the party’s flag bearer, Mr Valentine Ozigbo.
According to the group, such an endeavor might cost it the governorship race.
In a press statement signed by its leader, Mr Obinna Okafor, the group said it has already uncovered plans by a leader of the party to impose a university professor on Ozigbo, and with a plan ‘B’ of a former lawmaker.
The group said, “As lobbying for the post of a deputy governorship candidate/ running mate to Mr. Valentine Ozigbo continues, we, the members of Independent Leaders’ Forum (ILF) have observed the antics to single-handedly impose a running mate/deputy governorship candidate on him (Ozigbo).
“This is without recourse to other critical stakeholders in the party.
“We are aware that the choice of a running mate is the business of the party and generality of the major stakeholders, we completely reject the choice of Prof. Stella Okunna, who is in her 60s and not a grassroot politician, and also the choice of Hon. Ndubuisi Menakaya, though in his late 50s, is not a grassroot politician.”
The group said the named party leader (name withheld) seeks to hijack Ozigbo and also make decisions for him and the party.
“Naturally, this has affected Mr. Ozigbo such that making some critical decisions are difficult and almost impossible without the input (of the leader) and his associates.”
The group said the domineering attitude of the said leader was responsible for the party’s loss in 2017 governorship election in the state, and that if he continues, the party may witness the same fate.
“No single individual can deliver a governorship candidate successfully, without the input of other major stakeholders. Dictating to Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, his running mate and campaign would naturally bring a repeat of what happened in 2017. This we must oppose with everything we have,” it said.
“It should be noted that since 2003 till date, this is the first time a PDP candidate emerged by a collective effort of major stakeholders, and not by anointing/selection by a godfather. It is important that we protect this candidate with all jealousy against those actions capable of making us lose this election.”
The group said it will not hesitate to mobilise youths of the party to work against the party if the plot to foist a running mate on the candidate without the collective input of other critical stakeholders is realised.