Enugu: Charity Begins At Home, a conference of Obidients, supporters of Mr Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP and his running mate, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed at Kobb Event Centre, Polo Park, GRA, Enugu organized by Capt. Evarest Nnaji, known by his teeming followers as Odengene, a claimant to the Labour Party, LP Governorship ticket in the state, on Saturday was punctuated by so much drama.

The conference which had the theme: “Wake Up and Speak Out” was preceded by a road walk by thousands of Obidients from the seventeen Local Government Areas of Enugu State, who marched from Okpara Square, Independence Layout to the conference venue at another part of the city.

Recall that Hon Chijioke Edeoga, popularly known as, Okaomee, his chieftaincy title, a former Commissioner for Environment under Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, had been presented to party faithfuls as the party’s Governorship flag bearer, at a party Primary held on Thursday, August 4th, 2022 by the Enugu State Governorship Electoral Committee chaired by the Deputy National Secretary of the party, Comrade Chigozie Ahanudu.

However, despite the said primary witnessed by journalists, rumours that Odengene Evarest Nnaji, a professional pilot and a business magnate was the party’s anointed candidate, not Edeoga, kept growing by the day.

About a week earlier, on Friday, August 19th, 2022, the Labour Party through the party’s National Vice Chairman (South East), Comrade Innocent Okeke had formally presented Edeoga, a former Local Government Chairman and Member of the House of Representatives alongside Dr John Nwokeabia, as the party’s Governorship flag bearer and running mate respectively, to thousands of party faithfuls at a Townhall meeting held at Royal Palace Hotel, Enugu.

Eventually, the drama witnessed at the Charity Begins At Home Conference brought the issues simmering underneath to the fore.

As the Odengene group that participated in the March from Okpara Square were entering the venue of the conference, the Edeoga group was already seated, occupying about half of the tent.

Mr Peter Obi, the Presidential arty’s Presidential candidate was absent, being engaged overseas. The LP Vice Presidential candidate, Baba-Ahmed was also absent even though he was in the country.

In the party hierarchy, Barr Julius Abure, Alh. Umar Faruk Ibrahim, Chief Clement Ojukwu and Chief Innocent Okeke, the National Chairman, National Secretary, National Secretary and National Vice Chairman, South East, respectively were absent.

However, Barr Akinbade Oyelekan, Dr Ayo Olorunfemi and Mrs. Ladi Illiya, National Legal Adviser, National Vice Chairman (Representing TUC) and National Vice Chairman (Representing NLC), respectively graced the occasion.

Other dignitaries and party stalwarts present include Capt. Evarest Nnaji, claimant to Enugu State LP Governorship ticket, Dr Tanko Yunusa, Chief Spokesperson to Peter Obi/ Datti Baba-Ahmed Campaign Organization and Barrister Beatrice Itubo, Rivers State NLC Chairperson/LP 2023 Rivers State Governorship Candidate.

Others were Comrade Kennedy Iyere, Convener, 40m Ballot Revolution, DIG Godwin Nwobodo, Rtd, Security Adviser to the 40m Ballot Revolution, Comrade Kenneth Robinson, National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF/ Spokesperson for the Southern & Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) and Rev Oscar Egwuonwu.

Edeoga’s supporters were irked on seeing Odengene Capt. Evarest Nnaji’s name listed as the LP Enugu State Governorship Candidate in the program brochure.

Consequently, while Odengene’s supporters hailed him at the announcement of his arrival chanting “Ode! Ode! Odeee! Odeee! Odeee!” (an adaptation of the popular European football fans chant, Ole! Ole! Oleee! Oleee! Oleee) Edeoga’s supporters countered with chants of “Edeoga! Edeoga, ka anyị ga-eso, ma ọ na-eje eje ma ọ na-ala ala, Edeoga ka anyị ga-eso” which can be roughly translated as “Edeoga! Edeoga, is the one we shall follow, wether he’s coming or going”

The situation was getting tense. However, Edeoga’s supporters staged a peaceful walk out while chanting. As if on cue, Odengene’s supporters, most of who were standing at the back of the tent, having been displaced by Edeoga’s supporters who came earlier, moved to the front to the fill the gap while also chanting. Luckily, the incident took about ten minutes, after which the program proceeded without hassles.

The first speaker, Comrade Kennedy Iyere, Convener of 40m Ballot Revolution, had very harsh words for Edeoga while eulogizing Odengene, who referred to as “The Governor” and his friend. He pointedly castigated Edeoga for allegedly sending his supporters to disrupt the event.

However, the Party’s National Vice Chairman (Representing TUC), Dr Ayo Olorunfemi, stated that the matter of the party’s Enugu Governorship candidate was before a court of competent jurisdiction, assuring that the party would do the needful whenever a judgment is delivered on the matter.

Olorunfemi urged people of the South East to give their total support to Peter Obi, stressing that he was the best presidential candidate that can fix Nigeria.

“Peter Obi’s Presidency will end the age old problem ( mistrust) between Igbos and Yorubas. In fact, Obi is the medicine for Nigeria’s sickness.

“Myself am Yoruba but am supporting Peter Obi based on Equity and competence. If Afenifere and other Yoruba leaders are supporting Obi, you, as Igbos should give him total support as your son.

“You should also warn some Igbo leaders sabotaging Peter Obi to stop doing so”

“Today peace has eluded the north because one man wanted to rule at all cost in 2015 . They could not manage the bandits they imported but in Peter Obi, we are sure the country is secured,” Olorunfemi said.

Dr Tanko Yunusa, Chief Spokesperson to Peter Obi/Datti Baba-Ahmed Campaign Organization stated categorically that they were in Enugu for ” a Peter Obi/Datti Baba-Ahmed conference”

“We are here only for a Peter Obi/Datti Baba-Ahmed conference. The issue of the Enugu Labour Party flag bearer will be determined by the court.”

Other speakers including the party’s National Legal Adviser, Barr Akinbade Oyelekan and the National Vice Chairman (Representing NLC), Comrade Ladi Illiya spoke along the same line, maintaining that they were in Enugu to promote the Obi/Datti Baba-Ahmed ticket and that the controversy sorrounding the party’s Governorship ticket would be settled by the court.

However, DIG Godwin Nwobodo, Rtd, who introduced himself as a “son of the soil”, being an indigene of Nenwe in Aninri LGA of Enugu State stated that Odengene was the right man for the job and hence enjoyed the support of Ndi Enugu.

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