By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
The former governroship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2019 general election, Engr. Paul Okorie, Wednesday condemned the endorsement of the Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Francis Nwifuru by Governor David Umahi as his successor ahead of the 2023 general election.
Okorie who stated this while briefing newsmen in Abakaliki, hinted that the step taken by the Governor was undemocratic as it was designed to close up the political space against worthy contestant in the 2023 general election.
He said: “I’m in love with democracy and democratic princples. When people are shortchanged it becomes a problem. The endorsement is not a welcome development and not good for our democracy. Things must be done correctly.
“I don’t see any person who wants to preside over the State to be looking for endorsement. Some of us has once been victims. I condemn it. It’s not right. Let’s not close up the political space against anybody. Let nobody be muzzled out by anybody. Let’s watch. When people are complaining from left and right, I don’t want to believe that the Governor will not want to change his mind.”
Also, a governorship aspirant in Ebonyi State on the platform of All Progressives Congress(APC), Senator Julius Ali Ucha, recently described the endorsement of the Speaker by the Governor as undemocratic, illegal and immoral.
Ucha said the Umahi’s endorsement of Nwifuru as his successor was unacceptable, unconstitutional and demonic.
Umahi had at the weekend endorsed Nwifuru for the number one exalted position in the state.
But Ucha, the pioneer Speaker of the State House of Assembly who represented Ebonyi Central in the Senate, while addressing journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital, said the Governor erred and alleged that there has been plan to impose Nwifuru on the people of the state as a Governor.
He noted that the electoral act and the party constitution provides three conditions upon which aspirant can emerge which he listed as follows; direct primaries, indirect primaries and consensus and that in consensus which did not happen in the case of Nwifuru’s endorsement by Umahi.
Ucha urged the Governor to rescind the endorsement and allow other aspirants of the position to contest the party’s primaries, adding that for-closing other aspirants will spell doom for the party in the 2023 general elections.
He said “it came to those of us who are governorship aspirants under the platform of the APC as a surprise that an endorsement has been made by the state governor. We are still aspiring and we are aspiring very strong and we were not consulted and we are also aware that democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people.
“Endorsement or appointment in democracy can only be done by Chief Executive when he has been elected; you can appoint your commissioners, you don’t appoint people that are aspiring to be elected because we all aware that endorsement of who is to be elected is undemocratic, it is immoral, it is also illegal and unconstitutional. It is even demonic because what you are doing is to destroy democracy because you are saying that the will of the people no longer matter in democracy.
“People are supposed to vote for one that is to govern them not through imposition. So, we reject imposition and I call on the people of Ebonyi State to resist anything that will destroy democracy in this state.
“The electoral act and the party constitution provides only three conditions upon which an aspirant can emerge as a candidate. One is through direct primaries, two is through indirect primaries and the third is through consensus and none of this has been done in the state.
“So, even in the consensus, all other aspirants must have written a withdrawal note. If one refuses to withdraw and go to the federal high court, the entire process will be annulled. So, it is not something anybody can secure by a wave of hands that I have endorsed you or I have appointed you, no we are in democracy. This is why I have decided to bare my minds on what has happened in our state recently”.