I will sell everything I have to jail Nkwoala – Ezeagwu
We will arrest Ezeagwu and throw him out of Labour Party – Nkwoala
The crisis tearing apart the Delta state chapter of Labour Party (LP) is taking a toll on the leadership of the party in the state. Both factional chairmen, Tony Ezeagwu and Emeka Nkwoala have threatened to pour venom on each other unless one shifts ground and gives way for the other.
Both chairmen with their different offices situated in the heart of Asaba, had addressed journalists over the lingering bitterness and acrimony that may wreck the party and make its future bleak. Following the lingering crisis, there are fears that the two may never cross each other’s path as the problem has broken what one could describe as childhood friends.
Ezeagwu had once told journalists that both men were great friends to the extent that Nkwoala took him to his village in Imo state where both had good moments together. Then, they were best of friends and it was a jolly ride. But certain powers within the party knocked the heads of both together and the battle for supremacy began. However, it must be stated that prior to Ezeagwu joining Labour Party with Great Ogboru and others from the defunct Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), Nkwoala was chairman of the party.
But Emeraldng.com gathered that as at the time the DPP and LP merged, the tenure of Nkwoala had elapsed. At the merger, Ezeagwu was made chairman while Nkwoala became secretary. But the relationship along the line got soured and there were counter accusations, a development which broke the party into two given way to two chairmen emerging in the state.
In the media chat Nkwoala had with journalists, he said if Ezeagwu continue to perpetrate himself in office as the authentic chairman of the party in the state, he would be arrested and shown the way out.
Nkwoala revealed that the special convention of the party held in Abuja “took some wide range of decisions, removing Chief Tony Ezeagwu, removing the Rivers state chairman and the Anambra state chairman and the executives were dissolved and a new committee was put in place.”
According to him: “Ezeagwu wrote petitions to DSS, commissioner of police, INEC and DSIEC that he still remains the chairman that we should be prevented from parading ourselves as the party executives. In fact, he even said they should get us arrested but when DSS, police commissioner got our letter, they said this letter supersedes – because this is from Abuja. So, we continue to operate but he continued to illegally also operate in the defunct state secretariat.”
Nkwoala noted that when Ezeagwu discovered that his time was up, “he now had to go and approach the state High Court in Kwale, asking the court to declare his removal illegal, to tell the court to restrain us from parading ourselves as state officers of the party,” stating that “we have also raised our team of lawyers to oppose his prayers in court.”
He noted that the brief was to update the media, party members and the general public including intending members so that they are properly guided, “that Ezeagwu is no longer the state chairman of Labour Party, if he continues to operate in that illegal office, he is doing that illegally because as we speak now, he is in court challenging his removal and until the court makes pronouncement for or against, he cannot claim to be the chairman.”
He noted that since Ezeagwu is the claimant he should wait until the court makes pronouncement “and until the court makes pronouncement he cannot claim to be chairman of Labour Party,” even as he pointed out that Ezeagwu’s prayers to the court were not granted, “because we opposed those prayers because we are duly appointed by the national headquarters of the party and that the organ that appointed us is the highest decision making organ of Labour Party.”
He said Ezeagwu’s has elapsed by the 2009 constitution of the party, “but he is claiming that his tenure still runs based on the 2014 constitution and the 2014 constitution was not filed within 30 days to INEC. So, I have a copy of INEC refusal of Labour Party amendment that the amendment was not filed within 30 days so as such it is null and void. This constitution, 2009, stands and those are some of the points our lawyers are canvassing in the court.”
Said he, “if you don’t explore the internal mechanism to the fullest and you rushed to the court then, you are asking that they expel you completely and you will agree with me that he was never a party man,” stressing that Ezeagwu’s tenure expired September 2017 as the state operates three year tenure.
He said the national secretariat of the party is aware of the crisis unsettling the party in the state. He regretted shifting ground for Ezeagwu, when Ezeagwu’s former party, DPP, approached him for merger, noting that “there is no sacrifice that is so great to deliver our people from the shackles of misrule and poor governance. So, if in itself is a mistake, then, I take it.”
On the allegation of receiving monies running into millions of naira from political big weights in the party to tear the party apart, he said: “you and I know better who is the political jobber, I am not one, I have my job. I am a global citizen, I just returned from the US, so, I am not a local champion at all in any way but he is, very parochial and self-centered. He can play the sentiment thing but the people are wiser. Ogboru is honourable but Ezeagwu is dishonourable”, he added.
But Ezeagwu has enough evidence to counter every claim of Nkwoala. He told a group of journalists who visited him in his office after listening to Nkwoala that his tenure is still running as Labour Party chairman in Delta state.
He said: “By the constitution of Labour Labour, you don’t remove a state chairman in national convention. There must be a committee set up to even try the state chairman. That is not even the issue, the issue is the convention they did, is a few people who just grouped themselves together and say they had removed the national chairman and said since I’m loyal to the national chairman, they have equally removed me.”
He said: “If you read the Vanguard newspaper, the national chairman of Labour Party is still AA Salaam, is not Mike Omotosho. Emeka Nkwoala is from Omotosho who is not the national chairman of the part. What Emeka has done now is contempt of court. There is an injunction restraining him from parading himself as state chairman, pending the determination of the suit in question. They have no locus standi to say they have removed me at their kangaroo convention. That is not LP’s national convention.
“Even the Mike Omotosho, INEC did not recognise him. He is not accepted by INEC. How can you proclaim that you are the chairman. If you go to INEC website, the person you see there is AA Salaam. So, I don’t know where Emeka is coming from. If he has brain and he is educated, he should have known that this court injunction restrains him from parading himself as chairman until the determination of the substantive suit. It’s just that he is not educated, but he is not intelligent. That is his problem.”
Against Nkwoala’s argument that Ezeagwu’s chairmanship has expired in September 2017, Ezeagwu said his tenure is expiring on November 24, 2018. Hence, he has 10 months to hold office as Delta state chairman of the party. He said his chairmanship began on November 24, 2015. He told the team of journalists Nkwoala is parading the 2009 constitution whereas he was inaugurated with the 2014 constitution of the party. He also said the party structure is being run with that of his national chairman, AA Salaam and not that of Mike Omotosho, on whose platform Nkwoala is showing his strength.
He said: “Nkwoala is under Omotosho, so he is out of it. If INEC had said is Omotosho that is national chairman, that would have been in his favour but even at that, that will not stop my case in the court. If you want to remove me, you must follow the constitution before you remove me. You don’t just go to convention and announce that you have removed a chairman. Is it done that way? No. So, at the end of the day, what Emeka has done is contempt of court and we will tell the court.”
Ezeagwu explained that as far as he is concerned there is no crisis in the party, insisting that as far as his national chairman, Salaam has not been removed by INEC, there is no crisis in Labour Party. He added that a few days back, Salaam held a meeting with other 30 political parties in the party secretariat. As the meeting was in progress, a disident group emerged attempting to hold a meeting at the same secretariat but they were chased away from the secretariat.
He said for now, Nkwoala has been suspended from the party, he is not a member of the party. He said “In May last year, when Great Ogboru and co left, Emeka followed them but later came back and declared himself chairman of Labour Party. He was suspended alongside Great Ogboru from the party. So there has never been any forum where he was called back to the party. He heard that a disident group is moving, he decided to seize the opportunity to join them. If not , he is no longer a member of the party.”
He alleged that Nkwoala connived with Ogboru when Ogboru was leaving the party fpr APC. He insisted that they all agreed to totally dump the party for APC but Ogboru held series of meetings with others without inviting him as chairman, hence he refused to join the entourage that left the party for APC. He alleged that Ogboru gave Nkwoala three million naira to declare himself chairman of Labour Party, hence blaming Ogboru for the crisis rocking the party in the state.
Ezeagwu, however, said Nkwoala cannot compete with him, noting that if he does not jail him, he is not son of Ezeagwu his father. He added that he is being paid for a yeoman’s job. According to him, to ascertain his chairmanship of the party, it was candidates that contested the just concluded local government election in Delta state. He said the candidates of Nkwoala were rejected by the state electoral body. He concluded: “Nkwoala is doing a spoiler’s job. His paymaster ust have paid him to do this job. I will sell everything I have and make sure I bundle him into jail.”