The Ebonyi First Vanguard, has expressed worry over Governor David Umahi’s move to use the instrument of the Founding Fathers to endorse his proxy, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for 2023 Ebonyi Governorship race, Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, on grounds of a non-existent of zoning arrangement or Charter of Equity.
The group alleged that Umahi’s so-called zoning and rotation mantra had become an ill-conceived strategy to deceive the people to plant his surrogate as the Governor of the State in the forthcoming elections.
“This is true given that just on July 16, 2022 Governor Umahi, after pointing out the non-existence of a power rotation agreement or Charter of Equity in Ebonyi State, appealed to Ebonyi Founding Fathers Forum to begin to articulate a Governorship Rotation Formula for study and possible adoption by Ebonyi people; an assignment which the founding fathers have not yet started”, the group noted.
This contained in a statement signed by the Director-General of the Group, Mr Monday Eze, on Thursday.
The statement is tagged: “The Democratic Rights of Ebonyi People are Sacrosanct”, reiterated that there was no Governorship Zoning arrangement or Charter of Equity in Ebonyi State, but anti-democratic and desperate manoeuvres of Governor Umahi, allegedly calculated to impose his will on the people of Ebonyi State.
“The implication of this is that the 2023 governorship race is as open to all qualified Ebonyi candidates as it has always been since 1999 when the current democratic dispensation or fourth republic started. Ebonyi people deserve to be governed by the best candidate in 2023.
“Ebonyi First Vanguard, therefore, encourages all qualified candidates from all parts of Ebonyi State to courageously offer themselves for the 2023 Ebonyi Governorship election.
“As a corollary, the Ebonyi electorate is charged to approach the 2023 general elections with an open mind and vote according to their free will and conscience irrespective of which part of Ebonyi State their preferred governorship candidate comes from. Ebonyi State needs the best Governor in 2023; not a clan head or minion.
“It can be recalled that about a fortnight ago, Ebonyi First Vanguard had urged Governor Umahi to pay Ebonyi Founding Fathers the seven years arrears of their legally-approved allowances which he (Umahi) stopped in 2015.
“The attempt to use the release of the arrears of allowances and other inducements as baits to bend our revered Elders backwards into a frivolous endorsement is condemnable. The Vanguard insists that our Elders should be treated with dignity and respect by all in all circumstances.
“Ebonyi First Vanguard hereby advises Governor David Umahi to respect the democratic rights of Ebonyi people as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution which he took an oath to defend.
“We, hereby assures all and sundry that the good people of Ebonyi State will not tolerate any undue interference and encumbrance on their democratic rights by any person or authority no matter how highly-placed,” the Group stated.