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Ebonyi 2023: Zoning won’t count group declares

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Ahead of 2023 governorship election in Ebonyi state, some indigenes of the state under the platform of Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) have said that competence and credibility will determine who emerge the next governor and not zoning.

The association implored Ebonyi people to continue to study the records in and out of office of any contender and place same side-by-side with the prevailing challenges facing the state and seek out for only those who can reverse the negative indices.

In a statement signed and released to newsmen on Sunday by its President, Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, urged the people to ignore “paid political permutators, jobbers and hatchets men mislead, misdirect or misinform Ebonyi people as they battle to choose a credible and competent leader who would take-over the baton as Governor David Nweze Umahi’s successor.”

The association was reacting to an opinion piece by one Sunday Okwerike- one of the Izhi youngsters on social media who lamented that the rest of Ebonyians should probably leave the battle of Umahi’s successor in 2023 to only his Izhi clan.

But while responding to the development, the AESID said Ebonyi people will also not support to be elected into the office of Governor in 2023, any leader or persons who have records of having been used particularly by the Umahi administration to dispense mindless violence on Ebonyians with many of such leading to deaths of the young and elderly.

“First, AESID wishes to assert that the number one criteria which we implore every Ebonyian and lover our dear State to seek out in any intending aspirant or candidate is COMPETENCE and CREDIBILITY which would ultimately translate into such a leader’s capacity to reverse the numerous growing negative statistics and economic woes that the current government of Umahi has brought upon our dear State.

“Apart from the incontrovertible fact that there has never been a time when the rest of the zones in the State allowed only aspirants and candidates from a particular part of the State to seek the Governorship office in keeping with the so-called unwritten charter of equity, power as such pundits and analysts should be made to know only comes from above and it is never given but taken.

“Much more than the zone of an aspirant, AESID would, we reiterate implore Ebonyi people to continue to study the records in and out of office of any contender and place same side-by-side with the prevailing challenges facing the young State and seek out for only those who can reverse the negative indices.

“We, as a group has variously raised the alarm over the rising poverty in the State which has placed us in a woeful third position among the 36 States of the federation and whoever wish to succeed Umahi must not only be worried about this ugly trend but have the feasible prognosis to proffer credible solutions to them.”

According to Oluchukwu, the government of Engr. Umahi has remained a family business with capital flights being the order of the day.

“Governor Umahi boasts that he knows even the costs of production and supply of ordinary nails, all because he is the sole supplier all to and by himself and his family. This is why the government has placed higher premium on concrete roads, flyovers and decorative water fountains cum lights over and above the economic survival of a greater number of Ebonyians. Come 2023, Ebonyi people should choose, follow, support and elect a leader who would run an all-inclusive government that would see humans as humans and not as machines.

“It is our firm believe that the economic prosperity of Ebonyi people is more important than the antiquated zoning of political positions that would not afford us to put our best foot forward as Umahi’s successor in 2023. More so, our people will not elect any leader who has shown manifest greed and looting of previously or presently occupied public office, neither would we encourage them to support anyone hanging on the shoulders of any leader who has vaults in his massive country-home wherein he’s been saving looted public funds.

“Only people with records of genuine love and peace for all Ebonyians who have not shown manifest discriminations should be supported and elected into office in 2023.

Finally, we caution politicians against any sponsored divisive articles or positions that may cost Ebonyi the opportunity of redeeming its vanishing image and glory caused by Umahi’s rapacious greed, selfishness and extremisms against our people. AESID rather urge Ebonyi people to remain watchful, vigilant and determined to right the many awful wrongs of the Umahi administration despite Party and self-interests come, 2023 elections.”

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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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