2023: Crisis deepen in Ebonyi APC, as founding members reject guber aspirant, Nwifuru, 15 lawmakers
The founding members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ebonyi State yesterday disowned a gubernatorial aspirant, Mr. Francis Nwifuru who was endorsed by Governor David Umahi and 15 lawmakers of the state House of Assembly.
The group petitioned the national leadership of APC, asking for the conduct of direct primaries in Ebonyi to avert plunging the party into crisis.
The chieftains who spoke to journalists in Abakaliki through Dr. Haruna Ajah and Mr. Ben Nwaobasi, a former chairman in the state, said the choice of Nwifuru as Umahi’s successor is an attempt to plunge the APC to death in Ebonyi.
They alleged that the names of the sacked lawmakers of the state of Assembly EBSHA were smuggled into the APC register a few weeks to the primaries.
“We, the legacy and loyal members of APC in Ebonyi State want the national leadership of APC to intervene in the destructive and dictatorial activities of Governor David Umahi on Ebonyi State chapter of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, must ensure that the party, which we laboured to build is not destroyed.
“Let us from the outset put it on record that in November 2021 when Governor Umahi officially joined APC, he did not come into the party with any notable stakeholder of his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We recall that PDP produced three Senators, five members of the House of Representatives and 24 members of the State House of Assembly. But, through coercion and other underhand methods, the governor was able to lure 17 members of the State House of Assembly into APC.
“These 17 lawmakers were recently sacked by the Federal High Court, Abuja for breaching constitutional provisions by their defection. We wish to alert the national secretariat, the leadership of the party and the general public that in the course of their defence, the 16 state lawmakers deposed on oath that they are not members of the APC and that they have not defected to the APC.
“In the light of these obvious efforts by the governor to impose his preferred candidate on Ebonyi State APC, we use this opportunity to plead with our national leaders to ensure that direct primaries are organised for aspirants in the state.
“We believe that only a direct primary where the aspirants would test their popularity could restore the confidence of APC members in the party’s candidates and not the choice of one man who wants to pitch Ebonyi APC against the people.
“We have decided to cry out to the national leadership of the APC not only to save our souls but avoid a repeat of Zamfara and Rivers States experience in 2019 when the entire candidates of the party were swept away by the court.
“The following instances are readily evidenced that Governor Umahi wants to plunge Ebonyi State APC into instant death by his actions: One, the governor’s endorsement of Francis Ogbonnaya Nwifuru as the APC gubernatorial candidate without listening to the views of stakeholders and the wishes of the people.
“Secondly, the ongoing attempts to smuggle the names of 16 members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly into the membership register a few days after purchasing expression of interest and nominations for them.
“The fact of the matter is that on April 26, 2022 expression of interest and nomination forms were purchased for the lawmakers. But, in the process of filling the forms, it was discovered that the lawmakers were not properly registered as members of APC.
“It is obvious that these nefarious plans to make them candidates of our party when they are not properly registered members of APC would be enough reason for the court to invalidate APC’s victories as was the case in Zamfara State in 2019.
“For a better understanding of this attempt to perfect an irregular process, it should be noted that after the Federal High Court sacked the 17 members of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, they filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal.
“It might interest the national leadership to note that in the affidavit of facts sworn to by the lawmakers, they denied membership of APC in one breath and in another agreed that they decamped from PDP.
“This is contained in their affidavit of fact before the Court of Appeal in the suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1041/2021 (PDP Vs INEC & 21 ORS). We plead with the National Leadership of our great party to use the Ebonyi State situation to show that APC is not the heaven for irresponsible politicians” the group said.
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