Few days after he was suspended by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani has launched a full campaign for Bola Tinubu, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Nnamani is regarded as the father of modern Enugu politics, with his Ebeano group having produced the two governors who came after him.
They are Barr. Sullivan Chime, who completed his tenure in 2015 and the incumbent, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
SignatureTV had reported that the Senator, representing Enugu East Senatorial Zone was suspended alongside Chief Chris Ogbu from Imo State and several others over alleged anti-party activities.
Enquiries showed that his suspension was owing to a complaint by a former National Auditor of the PDP, Chief Ray Nnaji.
The party’s ex-official had argued that Senator Chimaroke Nnamani cannot be a sitting Senator of the party, carrying the party’s ticket for reelection and be engaged in support of another party’s presidential candidate.
He stated that Nnamani’s offences against the PDP are very grave, hinting that the party is going to take very serious action against the former governor.
He vowed to activate the party’s machinery against Nnamani to its fullest, to serve as a deterrent to others.
According to him, “Campaigning for another party, when you are a candidate of a different party, is a grave anti-party activity.
“As a candidate and sitting senator of the PDP in the Senate, it is bad for him to start campaigning for another party’s candidate.
“Honestly, he cannot be a senator carrying the ticket of the PDP, and still campaigning for another party.”
It is believed that Nnaji pushed for the decision of the NWC.
Few hours after his suspension was announced, Nnamani expressed shock over the development, stating that he was not given a fair hearing.
He asked his supporters not to be perturbed about the action as he was going ahead with his campaign.
He tweeted: “Just like every other person, the decision and announcement of my purported suspension from the PDP came to me as a rude shock and huge surprise.
“I was never at any time notified of any petition or complaint against me or informed of the grounds that formed the decision of the NWC of the PDP to suspend me from the party.
“My right to fair hearing was consequently violated against the clear provisions of the Constitution of the party, especially in disciplinary proceedings. More importantly the Superior Constitution of the FRN.
“I, therefore, appeal to all of you to remain calm and law-abiding, while we continue our campaign to a hopefully victorious conclusion. To God be the glory”.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who is leading the G-5 governors in the PDP equally reacted, telling the party that it was compounding the existing problems.
With Nnamani’s suspension, it was expected that Wike could be the next, being the ringleader of the G-5 governors.
However, the Governor fired a shot immediately, declaring that he was ready for a showdown.
“Suspending people will not help you in any way. The battle line has been fully drawn.
“We will do everything, legally possible, to challenge any decision that we know is illegal.
“Don’t think you can threaten people by saying you’re suspended…rubbish, rubbish.
“We are above that level that you think you can threaten, intimate anybody.
“We believe in the rule of law. We believe our party should respect its constitution.
“When a man says you will not sleep, he too will not sleep. We are waiting for you”, Wike boasted.
Wike’s boasts nothwithstadining, the governors with him are said to have decided to be tactful in their approach.
Apart from Wike, the other four members of the party are running for elections. While Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue), are holding PDP senatorial tickets, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is seeking a second term as governor.
This is said to be the reason they are yet to openly declare their support for a particular presidential candidate other than Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. They are divided between Tinubu and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
They fear any open endorsement of another Presidential candidate could attract the wrath of their party leadership and mar their ambition.
But on his part, it is observed that Nnamani, leader of the Ebeano political dynasty has true to his words gone full-blown in his campaign for Tinubu.
Unlike his previous posts in the past where he did subtle marketing of the APC Presidential candidate, he has now launched posters, containing his picture, side by side that of Tinubu, drumming support for the APC candidate.
Few minutes later, he followed it up with a video imaging for Tinubu campaign.
He was also said to have met with his supporters over the weekend, where he told them there was no going back on his stand.
There have been controversies ever since his suspension was announced, with opinions divided on whether or not his candidature has now been invalidated.
Quoting the party’s constitution, a top member of the PDP in Enugu State said the NWC was right in its decision.
He said, “let me take you to the Constitution of the PDP, Chapter 10, Article 3, which deals with disciplinary action against members. It states that: ‘The Working Committee at any level of the Party and the Executive committee (at the ward level) may, after preliminary hearings, suspend a member from the party for a period not exceeding one month, during which period, the member so suspended shall lose his right to contest any election and shall be referred to the appropriate Disciplinary Committee.’
“The provision is as clear as air. What it means is that the party can suspend without inviting the member. It is only at the level of expulsion that fair hearing comes in.
“But whether it is suspension or expulsion, you lose your rights as a member, including the right to contest any election, it is in black and white.”
The party chieftain, however, wondered why Nnamani should be singled out whereas the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Edward Ubosi had also appeared at the APC Presidential campaign.
“To me, the Speaker’s offence is even more grievous because nobody has ever seen Senator Nnamani in any of APC’s campaigns. But the Speaker was in Ebonyi State,” the party source said further in confidence.
Some analysts have referred to the case of Senator Ishaku Abbo of Adamawa State.
It could be recalled that a Yola High Court, presided over by Justice Mohammed Danladi, had sacked Senator Abbo as the APC Senatorial candidate for Adamawa North senatorial zone for this year’s election.
The court sacked Senator Abbo on the ground that he was expelled from the party by his ward in Mubi North Local Government Area of Adamawa.
The court also averred that Senator Abbo is not entitled to enjoy any right or privilege accorded to APC members.
It is left to be seen, the next action of the party, especially with Governor Wike’s threat, and Nnamani’s decision to call its bluff.