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Jonathan summons Ebonyi governor, deputy, others

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• Umahi cautions Elechi

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan moved to save embattled Ebonyi State Governor Martin Elechi yesterday, summoning him and other stakeholders to a meeting in Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

  But there were indications that the crisis in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State appears far from being over as the meeting was inconclusive.

  In attendance were some states’ helmsmen, led by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF), Obong Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom. Also present were governors Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, Sule  Lamido (Jigawa) and Elechi’s deputy and the party’s gubernatorial candidate for Ebonyi in the April 11, 2015 poll, Chief David Umahi. 

  Signs that the meeting did not end on a positive note emerged as the governor, who emerged from it brushed aside questions from State House correspondents, who wanted to know the outcome. He said he was not in the Villa to answer journalists’ questions.

  At a stage, an angry Elechi raised his trademark walking stick and threatened to break the tape recorder of one of the reporters, who was walking by his side to get his reaction.

  But Suswam, who later spoke to correspondents, denied insinuations that Elechi stormed out of the meeting which he said ended properly. While admitting that the Ebonyi crisis was one of the issues discussed during the meeting, the Benue governor also noted that the strategies for winning the two elections were examined.

  Suswam, who said the crisis in the state PDP would soon be overcome, denied that the governor stormed out of the meeting. He explained that the governor rushed out because he had a flight to catch.

  Meanwhile, Umahi has enjoined Elechi to respond to allegations leveled against him by the Ebonyi House of Assembly “instead of embarking on a smear campaign.”

  In a statement issued in Abakaliki yesterday, the Deputy Governor asked his boss to defend himself of the eight-point impeachment notice and refrain from pointing fingers at the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Umahi. 

  The statement signed by Abia Onyike, Umahi’s Director, Media and Publicity, said that it was abundantly clear that Elechi has had a running battle with the House of Assembly over several issues which the legislators had described as bordering on constitutional breaches.

“The Deputy Governor who is also the PDP governorship candidate in the forthcoming elections believes in the principles of separation of powers and does not seek to meddle into the internal affairs of the House of Assembly,” the statement said.

 He insisted that while he would not be drawn into the numerous allegations against the governor, “Elechi has the moral obligation to tackle the substantive issues raised by the lawmakers and stop resorting to name-calling and diversionary tactics, as such worn-out antics can only exacerbate his woes instead of attenuating them.”

 Apart from Ebonyi, Suswam admitted that other state chapters of the party had their peculiar issues and noted that the meeting summoned by the President was part of the efforts to resolve those differences so that PDP can go into the next elections united.

  According to him, “We have issues, political parties have issues, different candidates have different issues, there are no universal issues across the length and breadth of the party. There could be minor issues here and there, you will observe that yesterday and today, we have been meeting, we are meeting  because we want to be in change, we want to be abreast.”

  Despite the crises, the governor of Benue was optimistic that the party would come out of the coming elections victorious. 

  He added: “PDP will win this election landslide. Forget about the noise and propaganda. We are ready and willing and with all we have done today, like I said we have properly calibrated ourselves to win this election and nothing is going to stop it.”



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