2023: Ucha, Mbam fume over Umahi’s endorsement of Nwifuru

Governorship aspirants under the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), in Ebonyi state Tuesday vehemently rejected the choice of the Speaker of the Ebonyi state House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, as the sole candidate for the governorship position in the 2023 general election.

 Umahi had at the weekend endorsed Nwifuru for the number one exalted position for APC in the state. 

But the chairman of Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC), Elias Mbam, and former Senator representing Ebonyi Central senatorial zone, Senator Julius Ali Ucha, rejected the decision and described the endorsement by Governor David Umahi as undemocratic, illegal, and immoral. 

Speaking on different occasions, Sen Julius Ucha, while addressing some journalists in Abakaliki, described Umahi’s endorsement of Nwifuru as unacceptable, unconstitutional, and demonic. 

Ucha said the Governor aired, alleging that there has been a 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 direct primaries, indirect primaries, and consensus, saying that consensus did not happen in the case of Nwifuru’s endorsement by Umahi. 

He further urged Umahi to rescind the endorsement and allow other aspirants for the position to contest the party’s primaries, adding that, fore-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. We were not consulted and we are also aware that democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.  

 “Endorsement or appointment in democracy can only be done by the 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 are 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 destroying democracy. After all, you are saying that the will of the people no longer matters in a 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 provide 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 a democracy. This is why I have decided to bare my mind on what has happened in our state recently.”  

On his part, Chief Elias Mbam, who expressed worries about the development said, “I am concerned and worried as a critical stakeholder of our party because if that statement is correct, it means we are closing the political space against potential aspirants. Even though forms are not yet being sold, I don’t think that is good for our party. 

“INEC and the party have emphasized that there should not be the imposition of candidates. And if we close the political space in the disguise of anointing or endorsement, impose a candidate, it will not be in the interest of the party. It will close the space against other party and will run the risk of the party losing against the 2023 election. 

“I know the governor is the leader of the party in the state and so all of us who are in the party are his children, I expect that as the father of the party you give every child equal opportunity and let the people determine who will be their governor.” 

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