The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has faulted the nomination of Mr Idu Igariwe and Chief Fred Udeogu as replacement of Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi and his deputy, Dr Eric Kelechi-Igwe. This is contained in a statement issued by Austin Nweze, SDP state chairman and made available to newsmen in Abakaliki on Thursday. Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, PDP national chairman had in a world press conference in Abuja on Tuesday directed state chapter of the party to nominate Igariwe and Udogu to replace Umahi and his deputy, Dr Eric Kelechi-Igwe respectively.The directive was following the sack of the governor and his deputy by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja over the defection of the governor and his deputy to the APC. According to the statement, Igariwe, representing Afikpo North/Afikpo South Federal Constituency and Udogu, former Caretaker Committee chairman of PDP did not participate in the 2019 governorship election. The party said the recent directive by Ayu to Ebonyi chapter of the party to nominate the duo to replace Umahi was unconstitutional and illegal. The party argued that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should not issue certificates of returns to the nominees of the PDP as directed by the PDP national chairman. The statement noted that Igariwey and Udogu did not participate in the PDP primaries nor did they participate in the 2019 general elections. “Section 141 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and other extant electoral laws provide that for a person to qualify to become a governor, he must have participated in all the electoral processes.” The 1999 Constitution (as amended) also provides in very clear terms that for a candidate to become a governor, he must have participated in all stages of the elections.
“Both nominees did not take part in the 2019 governorship election in Ebonyi, hence are not qualified and as such INEC cannot issue any certificate of return to them,” the statement said.Nweze further stated that Umahi was the only governorship aspirant for the PDP who was subsequently nominated to fly the party’s flag in the 2019 gubernatorial election in Ebonyi “As a party that participated in the 2019 general elections in Ebonyi, we wish to state that Umahi was the sole contestant for the PDP primary for the governorship election and remains the qualified candidate,” it added.The party said that it had directed its lawyers to study the judgement that sacked Umahi as Ebonyi governor and his deputy for further actions. “Our position for now is that both the INEC and the Ebonyi Chief Judge, Mr Elvis Ngene should not be dragged into the illegality of issuing certificates of return to the said persons and swearing-in of any nominees of the PDP.” It added.