Ebonyi governorship aspirants kick as Umahi endorses Speaker as successor

By Augustine Anioke, Abakaliki


The endorsement of embattled Ebonyi State House of Assembly Speaker, Francis Nwifurụ by Governor David Umahi as his successor is generating ripples in the state.

This is as major stakeholders in the party have rejected the said endorsement of Mr Nwifuru.

Umahi had last Saturday at a function in Okposi in Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state, announced that he had chosen Nwifuru to succeed him, come 2023.

Leading the stakeholders of the All Progressive Congress(APC) against the endorsement are the Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam and a former Senator, Julius Ucha.

Both Ucha and Mbam are governorship aspirants under the party.

Ucha, in a statement in Abakaliki described the move as undemocratic and a flagrant attempt to play on the sensibilities of Ebonyi people.

Ucha, a two-term Senator who represented Ebonyi Central Senatorial zone between 2003 to 2011, said Governor Umahi did not even consult the Governorship aspirants on the platform of the APC in the State before making the endorsement.

According to him, it is undemocratic, immoral, illegal, unconstitutional and even demonic, for the Governor to have taken such a unilateral decision.

He maintained that such imposition won’t work; and called on the Ebonyi people to reject and resist any attempt to destroy democracy in the State.

The Governorship hopeful who is a Member of the National Assembly Service Commission, representing the South-East zone, maintained that he was fully in the governorship race on the platform of the APC.

He vowed that if Governor Umahi succeeded in imposing a 2023 governorship candidate on the people, the APC would lose Ebonyi State, come 2023.

Ucha said: “I wish to share my view on the recent political development in our dear state, Ebonyi, where it came to us as a surprise, those of us who are aspirants running for the position of the governorship on the platform of the APC, that an endorsement has been made by the state Governor.

We are still aspirants and we are aspiring very strong. And we were not consulted by the governor.

“We are also aware that democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people. So, endorsement or appointment in democracy can only be done by the Chief Executive when he has been elected.

“As a Chief executive, you can appoint your Commissioners, but you don’t appoint people that are aspiring to be elected. And we are all aware that endorsement of one who is aspiring to be elected is undemocratic, immoral, illegal, unconstitutional and even demonic.

“Because what you are doing is to destroy democracy; you are saying that the will of the people no longer matters in a democracy.

“People are supposed to vote for the persons to govern them, not through imposition. So, we reject imposition and I call on the people of Ebonyi State to reject imposition and resist anything that will destroy democracy in this State.

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“The electoral act and the APC constitution provide only three conditions upon which an aspirant can emerge as a candidate: one, is through direct primary, the second, is through indirect primary and the third, is through consensus and none of this has been done in Ebonyi state.”

Ucha was recently adopted as a consensus candidate by his populous Ezza clan as the sole governorship aspirant from the clan on the platform of the APC.

Similarly, Mr Elias Mbam in a statement
advised Mr Umahi to desist from imposing his successor come 2023 general election.

According to him, anointing a Successor is capable of closing the political space against potential aspirants and APC in the state.

He then urged the governor and leader of the party in the state to give all the interested aspirants equal opportunity to contest for the position.

“If the announcement is correct, it means they are closing the political space against potential aspirants and it is not good for our party .

“INEC and our party has emphasize that there should be no imposition of candidates And if we close the political space in the disguise of anointing or endorsement, to impose a candidate, it will not be for the interest of the party. It will close the space for other aspirants and we run the risk of losing in 2023 election

“I know the governor is the leader of the party in the State and so all of us in the party are his children. So I expect him as a father of the party to give every of his child equal opportunity and let the people determine who will be their governor.

“I am well prepared for the service this state. I don’t think anybody knows the Stakeholders of this state more than me because I have always serve my people” he said.

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