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2023: AESID asks security agencies to probe Umahi over provocative comments

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The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Diaspora (AESID) has condemned in totality statement credited to the Ebonyi state governor, Engr. David Nweze Umahi in which he reportedly vowed to sponsor crisis in opposition parties to make room for a fight while he sips champagne in the comfort of his bedroom.

The governor was said to have reportedly made the statements during his ruling party’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) state congress held recently at the party’s state secretariat in Abakaliki and yet to be refuted.

But while responding to what it considered a crisis threat comments by the governor, the AESID in a statement signed Wednesday in Abuja by its president (World-wide) Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, urged the Inspector General of Police, Director of State Security Service (DSS) and all other federal security agencies not to take such statement for granted.

The Ebonyi indigenous association also demanded a retraction and a public apology from the governor.

“We at AESID which to condemn in its wholeness the subtle resort to violence or any form of crisis as being preached and propagated by Governor Umahi ahead the contest by aspiring and suitably qualified individuals to succeed him in 2023. The threat is for want of more suiting adjectives obnoxious, vexatious, insensitive and highly provocative coming from the number one citizen of our beloved state which is adjudged to be one of the most peaceful in the country.

“We wish to observe that firstly; the said assertion is quite unfortunate coming from Governor Umahi who in the build up to his battle to outwit and arm-twist his erstwhile boss, elderstatesman and immediate-past Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martin Elechi was allowed by his peace-loving predecessor and indeed Ebonyians in general to freely declare his intention, grab the State’s governing Party, PDP’s ticket and successfully emerge the Governor of our dear State in such a time without any threat to crisis or violence.

“It baffles common sense, profound reasoning and good conscience that the State’s Chief Security Officer could sound this awful in his desperate bid to produce his successor come 2023. In our keen estimation, Governor Umahi has therefore by this unguarded assertion shown himself the common enemy of the same very people he was elected to serve.

“It is indeed, surprising to us just like the generality of Ebonyi people that Governor Umahi has continued in his absurd dictatorial tendencies without caring a hoot to understand and even appreciate the crucial constitutional roles played by opposition elements and political Parties in any democratic governance. This best explains his abhorrence for criticisms no matter how constructive and has consequently led to his constant war with the opposition elements and the media who only strive their best to hold him accountable to the people.

“But what exactly is Governor Umahi who has since his ascension to power made himself a political bully of sort by his records and antecedents afraid of, if we may ask, could he be afraid that Ebonyi workers who we understand he pays half salaries would definitely be the first constituency to mobilize against his preferred choice in 2023? Or the retirees we are reliably informed he allegedly embezzled their pensions and gratuity? Or the middle-class he has almost completely wiped out of the system?

“Is he afraid that the traders and artisans he muzzled will mass up against him in 2023? Is he also afraid that the serving and numerous sacked cum suspended aides including former political officeholders who he has made poorer by design and wicked machinations through the non-payment of their lawful entitlements will plot his humiliation and downfall? What about the Anambra, Imo, Abia and Enugu businessmen and women he forcefully confiscated their shops, intimidated and harassed? Is he also afraid of their anticipated pay-back?”

According to the statement, already, there are visible signs that the Anambra kingmakers such as money-man, Authur Eze, Cletus Ibeto and others have started deserting the governor.

The association, however demanded “a retraction of these threats and a sincere apology within 48 hours to the peace-loving people of Ebonyi State who has already seen enough under his leadership and watch. We will not sit idly and watch Umahi put a State which our fore-fathers collectively fought hard to be created destroyed or put in flames via the negative, vituperative and inflammatory comments of a supposed Chief Security Officer.

“We therefore urge the Director of DSS in Nigeria, the Inspector General of Police and indeed, all federal security agencies never to allow these boastings of Governor Umahi who is a Chief Law enforcer go without some level of scrupulous investigations to avert whatever may be the evil that such plans to engineer crisis may bring on the people. We therefore call on them to invite and question him on the import of this dreadful assertion before his aides or supporters hide under same to unleash mayhem on innocent Ebonyians all in their bid to please his motives.

“While we urge Ebonyi people to remain calm, peaceful and also very watchful, we however implore all and sundry, particularly the Nigerian government to hold governor Umahi responsible for whatever crisis that may befell the state ahead of the 2023 general elections which is still about three years ahead!”

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Umahi Declares for 2023 Presidential Race

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As has been widely expected, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has thrown his hat into the ring for the 2023 Presidential race.

According to the Governor, he has informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his ambition to contest the presidency on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC).

Governor Umahi’s action came barely 24 hours after the National Leader of the Party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, took similar steps.

Umahi disclosed his latest move to State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

  1. On what his chances chances are against the background that other big political figures had indicated their intentions to run for the same office, including Asiwaju Tinubu, the Governor said God would be the decider of the outcome of the race.

Umahi, who left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC, said he stands a chance if the APC throws the ticket open.

He said if he gets the opportunity, his presidency will replicate his efforts in Ebonyi, saying that he has a lot to show in running governance as a business.

The Governor also said he spoke with the President about resolving the security crisis bugging the Southeast region through political solutions.

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We Haven’t Zoned the Presidential Slot to Any Part of the Country, says PDP

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As permutations continue ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has denied zoning the presidential slot, saying a decision is yet to be taken on where its presidential ticket would be zoned to.

It also dismissed reports indicating that PDP had resolved to zone the presidential ticket to a particular region of the country.

Recall that former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, had, last week, told a group drumming support for the presidential ambition of ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar that the party had resolved to field a northerner as its presidential candidate.

But reacting to the reports, spokesman for the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said: “This is completely misleading as it does not in any way represent the position of our party. For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP emphatically and unequivocally states that it has not zoned its presidential ticket to any part of the country.

“The PDP is a political party founded on democratic principles and every action of the party, including zoning, is based on extensive consultations, discussions and consideration of all the issues as well as the various tendencies and interests across the nation, with the main objective of ensuring that the unity, peaceful co-existence and development of our nation are reinforced and promoted.

“The PDP, therefore, urges Nigerians, our teeming members and supporters to completely disregard the unfounded zoning claims as being peddled. Our party also cautions those behind the claims to desist forthwith.

“The PDP thanks Nigerians for the overwhelming interest they have in our party as their sure platform to rescue and rebuild our nation from misrule and urges them to remain united and focused as we join forces for the task ahead.”

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Andy Uba Wasn’t a Candidate in Anambra Governorship Election, Court Rules

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All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Anambra, Andy Uba, who has vowed to upturn the election of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, was handed an unexpected knock out on Monday.

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, nullified his participation in the 6 November election, declaring his candidacy illegal.

The ruling effectively denied Uba a locus standi to challenge Soludo.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, held that the June 26 primary of the party which produced Uba as its standard-bearer was not validly conducted.

The ruling ended what would have been some legal distraction for Soludo, a former Central bank governor, hoping to make a difference in governance in the state.

Chief George Moghalu, an aspirant in the APC primary election had challenged the process and the outcome of the primary election that produced Uba as the party’s candidate.

Moghalu, who was the plaintiff, had sued the party, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Uba as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Ekwo aligned with the plaintiff’s arguments that the June 26 primary election breached the provisions of the Electoral Act and the APC guidelines for the conduct of the exercise.

Chief George Moghalu

He held that the plaintiff had successfully demonstrated that the primary election was not conducted in accordance with the law and the party’s guidelines.

“Therefore, the case of the plaintiff succeeds on its merit,” he said.

Ekwo held that since the election was conducted illegally, the APC (1st defendant) cannot be a beneficiary of the Nov. 6 election which produced the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Prof. Charles Soludo, as the winner of the poll outcome.

The judge, therefore, declared that the APC had no candidate in the Anambra governorship election by non-inclusion of the name of Moghalu in the primary election, and the conduct of the poll in contravention of the Electoral Act and the party’s guidelines.

“The 2nd defendant (INEC) is compelled to delist the name of the 1st defendant and 3rd defendant from the Nov. 6, Anambra governorship election,” he ordered.

Prof. Charles Soludo
Anambra Governor-Elect

According to the judge, any election conducted contrary to the 1st defendant guideline is in nullity.

“The real issue was not whether accredited members of 1st defendant voted on that day but whether the election was conducted in accordance with the election guidelines of 1st defendant,” he held.

He also said that the evidence of the police report confirmed that the election was conducted outside the time frame.

Ekwo, who described the conduct of the primary by APC as “crude and primitive,” ordered that the N22.5 million paid by Moghalu as expression of interest and nomination forms be refunded since the party failed to complied with the provisions of the law and its guidelines.

Moghalu had, in July, filed the suit at the court, seeking an order removing Uba and the APC from the list of gubernatorial candidates and political parties partaking in the Anambra governorship election on the grounds that the party failed to conduct a valid primary election.

He also demanded N122.5 million as damages, which include a refund for the fee paid for expression of interest and nomination forms and N100 million “for the breach of contract to commence and conclude primary election”.

INEC had picked Uba, winner of the APC primary election, as the party’s candidate.

In the affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff said the APC failed to conclude the selection and nomination process for its candidate for the Nov. 6 governorship poll.

He said the APC had chosen to adopt direct primary, which is why the party published the list of designated venues for the exercise.

Moghalu said the party received N22.5 million for the expression of interest form and nomination form, including from him, “to allow him to participate in the primary election exercise”.
He further said he was informed a day before the primaries that the APC electoral committee would address all aspirants and stakeholders in Akwa.
“Shockingly, on June 26, 2021, the said election committee was not seen anywhere in Anambra; no accreditation of voters took place; no voting and collation of votes occurred in all the 326 wards of Anambra state,” he said.

He said the committee “announced election results it did not conduct, and which fakery was credited to the 3rd defendant as the winner of the primary election scheduled for emergence as APC’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra”.

Moghalu also argued that the party did not invite the INEC in line with the law requiring the commission to monitor the exercise.

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