Party defies governor’s order

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The All Nigeria
Peoples Party (ANPP) says it will go ahead to flag off its zonal
presidential campaign in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital today,
despite the ban placed on it by the state governor, Martins Elechi from
campaigning in the state.

Mr. Elechi, who is a
member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had, in a broadcast last
week , asked the ANPP not to come to the state, because Abakaliki is a
small provincial capital struggling to measure up to the status of a
state capital and therefore the presence of the members of the
opposition party would overstretch the existing facilities there.The
governor also alleged that the ANPP national chairman, Ogbonnaya Onu,
who was his opponent in the 2007 gubernatorial election in the state,
was known to be violent.

However the vice
presidential candidate of ANPP in the April elections, John
Odigie-Oyegun said yesterday that the party will defy Mr Elechi’s order
because the governor does not have authority to do so. “Of course we are
going ahead because the governor does not have authority to place a ban
on us not to come,” Mr Odigie-Oyegun told NEXT in a telephone interview
on Sunday, “What he said is totally of no consequence. He was just
saying it as a governor. So, there is no problem at all. We are going to
Ebonyi state to campaign and nothing will happen.” The vice
presidential candidate who is also the deputy national chairman of the
ANPP (South), said the party would have respected the order if it came
from the police or the State Security Service (SSS), which according to
him, are the appropriate agencies of government to gauge the security
atmosphere in the state.

According to him,
the governor merely raised the alarm without even making reference to
the report of either of the security agencies about possible anarchy or
breakdown of law and order. He said, “Police have not said we should not
go there. Granted that the governor is the chief security officer of
the state, he did not, however, make any reference to the security
agencies probably saying there will be possible anarchy or breakdown of
law and order and so where did he get this thing from?”

Mr Odigie-Oyegun
said that Mr Elechi would be held responsible should there be any
problem when the party presidential campaign team visits the state.
According to him, the ANPP members are not known to be violent but
merely seek the people’s mandate peacefully wherever they go. “If
anything happens when we go there they know who to hold responsible,” he
added just as he noted that the governor is afraid of the rising
popularity of the ANPP.

Mr Onu, an indigene
of Ebonyi State, had told journalists last week that the party’s
leadership would decide whether or not to go ahead with the campaign.

The national
chairman also asked President Goodluck Jonathan to call Mr Elechi to
order. “I wish to point out that Mr. Elechi has no right under the
constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to prevent any political
party from holding a rally. It is the height of intolerance for him to
seek to do so. No one can and should be allowed to be above the law or
act in a way to disrespect our constitution, the ANPP boss said.

“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in both his Oath of
Allegiance and Oath of Office swore to preserve, protect and defend the
constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The president should
with a sense of urgency, act with speed to call the governor of Ebonyi
State to order. “The governor of Ebonyi State should be made to subject
himself to both the letter and spirit of the constitution which he swore
to preserve, protect and defend.”

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