A former Minister of Health, Professor ABC Nwosu, on Monday, debunked a statement credited to second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme that he (Nwosu) was barred from contesting the gubernatorial position in Anambra State, saying it was “ a complete misrepresentations of facts.”
In a statement in Abuja, Nwosu said it was not true that there was an agreement for him not to contest as claimed by the former Vice President.
Dr Ekwueme had while denying in a recent interview that he influenced the emergence of Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial standard bearer in 1999 against the winner at the primary stated that he did not influence the emergence of Mbadinuju who he asserted won the primaries, and that as State Secretary of the Party there was an agreement that Nwosu should not have contested.
Nwosu a former Political Adviser to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo noted: “I remember differently to that claim. “I know for a fact that there were two primaries – the first primary was held on December 21, 1998, same day with other PDP gubernatorial primaries nationwide.
“It was a ‘direct primary’ held in all the Local Government Areas of Anambra State and supervised by the national electoral committee for Anambra State led by Major General A.B. Mamman (retired). Other members of the committee were Senator (later Hon. Minister) Sanusi Daggash, and Dr. Mrs. (later Hon. Minister) Becky Igwe.
“I won the ‘direct primary’ convincingly, and was presented with a Certificate of Return by the committee, which along with newspaper publications of my electoral victory are still in my possession.
“A week later, the PDP national Electoral Appeal Panel annulled my election victory on a petition written by one of Dr Mbadinuju’s associates after which a new ‘closed door primary was conducted by another committee led by Alhaji Murtala Ashorobi, on December 28, 1998 not in the open, but at Ikenga Hotels Awka.
Nwosu, however, pointed out that Dr Ekwueme might have been referring to the December 28, primary when he asserted that Dr Mbadinuju won the 1998 Anambra State gubernatorial primary, saying “Ndi Anambra and others know the truth and are aware of General A.B. Mamman’s damning letter on the subject.
He insisted that “ the former VP forgot that members of the pioneer state executive of the party with me as secretary, were not elected but were his candidates, put together in his hotel suite at Hilton Hotel Abuja, with the exception of five slots which he directed should be filled by the late Dr Okadigbo.
“He also forgot that prior to the formation of the PDP I was a gubernatorial contestant in the defunct Congress for National Consensus (CNC) and United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP), when therefore and with who in the PDP did I enter into an agreement to drop my gubernatorial ambition, he queried.
Nwosu stated that he had put the alleged episods behind and wondered how Dr Ekwueme, as pioneer interim national chairman of the PDP and leader of Anambra State PDP, still maintainsed that he did not support Dr. Mbadinuju, adding that, “ even though all his acolytes and very close political associates did.”