Youths under the umbrella of Ebonyi Youth Solidarity Movement (EYSM) have slammed Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi for the unilateral endorsement of the Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Mr Francis Nwifuru as All Progressives Congress (APC) sole aspirant.
The group slammed the governor over the alleged imposition in a statement signed by Messrs Peter Oyon and Chijoke Ogah, state coordinator and secretary respectively as well as its three zonal coordinators.
The statement was made available to newsmen on Saturday in Abakaliki.
According to the statement, the body condemned in strong terms the unilateral endorsement which it described as imposition stressing that such imposition ‘will not work in Ebonyi.’
Our correspondent reports that Umahi’s endorsement took place at Okposi, in Ohaozara local government area at the burial of late Chief Dandy Igweomoke, father of Mrs Chioma Nweze, Commissioner for Trade and Investment.
The body regretted that the said announcement was to contrary to the earlier avowed stance of Umahi to maintain absolute neutrality in the choice of his successor.
“We hereby condemn without equivocation and in strong terms the adoption of the speaker of as the APC governorship candidate by the governor in the 2023 governorship election.
“That the adoption of Nwifuru as the sole aspirant is ridiculous, undemocratic and lacking in all ingredients for a harmonious electoral process.
“That it smacks of a deliberate and strategic effort to undermine the gains of our dear party so far in holding firm to the reins of power in the state.
“That it sufficiently represents the cannibalisation of democratic norms; it is inimical to equity, justices, faimess and good conscience.
“That by the said pronouncement, the party could implode if care is not taken and the efforts of committed party men smeared with the lotion of vanity.
“That by virtue of his position, the governor should be a father-figure to all the contestants, and should be able to guarantee equal chances to them all.
“That His Excellency should recognise that the APC in Ebonyi is also home to some widely known and time-tested great men who in this event are interested in running for the same office.
“Personalities including, Chief Elias Mbam come to mind with his vast experience as Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Sen. Julius Ucha, pioneer Speaker of Ebonyi House of Assembly and former senator of the Federal Republic as well as Chief Edward Nkwegu who has ran for election under the platform of our great party.
“These men should be given equal opportunity to contest the APC primary without muscling them or closing the political space against them,” the statement read.
The movement therefore called on the national leadership of APC to as a matter of urgency intervene in the controversial endorsement and call the governor to order.
“We call on the national leadership of our great party to quickly intervene in Ebonyi and call the governor to order.
“APC risks losing the 2023 general election as there will be a massive migration to other parties especially the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) if this endorsement of the embattled speaker is allowed to stand.
“That while praying that His Excellency withdraws the endorsement and grants all the contestants a level playing ground, we invite all members of our party, all men of goodwill, all lovers of social justice, and the true progressives to rise and reject the sham which is a shame to democracy,” the group added. END//