Raphael Ede, Enugu
The United Democratic Party (UDP), yesterday, said it has withdrawn its petition against Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the election tribunal in the overall interest of the state.
Addressing newsmen at the Prince Palace Hotel, the state chairman of the party, Mr. Stephen Ngene, said the decision to abandon the challenge, which he described as a painful one was to ensure that the current peace in the state is sustained.
Ngene said the decision was reached after several meetings with the governor and party hierarchy in the state and national levels.
Flanked by the deputy governorship candidate of the party in the state, Mr. Sunday Aroh and Publicity Secretary, Riche Obie, Ngene said: “Enugu State is bigger than any individual’s interest. Elections have come and gone, this is the time for governance. We want our state to progress, and since the governor has extended his hands of fellowship, we have decided to join hands with him to move the state forward.
“Our decision to support Ugwuanyi is not based on monetary value or gain, but, for the sole aim of moving Enugu State forward.”
Ngene noted that many states in the country were still reeling in electoral crisis, and stressed that, “pursuing the matter which, to us, has merit will clearly undermine the peace the state has enjoyed over the years.
“This is part of the sacrifice we need to make to move Enugu forward. We don’t want to create problems. Again, since the governor has requested we submit a blueprint of our development programmes for implementation, we do not think there is any need to carry the fight further, as the sole aim of vying for the office is to take Enugu State to greater heights,” he said.
The party members however, charged the governor to live up to his promise and ensure that all parts of the state are carried along in his developmental programmes, while he wished him well in his second term in office.
UDP had, earlier in a press briefing, a forth night ago, addressed by the governorship candidate, Pastor Donatus Ozoemena, said the election conducted on March 9, which produced Ugwuanyi, was not acceptable. He had alleged that the election was marred by irregularities and vowed to seek redress in court.
He had listed, among others, the alleged non use of card readers, thuggery and prevention of his agents from collation centres, vote buying and intimidation of voters as some of the infractions in the election, saying they were aimed at manipulating the process in favour of the eventual winner.