- Edo 2016: INEC nails him, okays Makarfi
Embattled factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff was yesterday sacked from office by an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Valentine Ashi.
The court nullified the 2014 PDP constitution amendment upon which Sheriff was appointed chairman.
The ruling came moments after Sheriff’s supporters assembled in Benin to vote for its governorship candidate in the forthcoming Edo gubernatorial poll taking place later in the year, even as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, disowned the sacked chairman and the exercise, stating that its position was in tandem with relevant court rulings.
The Abuja court described the amendment as illegal and a violation of the Electoral Act, and declared all actions carried out with it, including anybody parading as officer of the PDP, as illegal.
Sheriff goes ahead with guber primary, INEC stays away
True to its words, INEC did not send any of its officials to observe the governorship primary elections for the PDP faction led by Alhaji Modu Sheriff which held yesterday at the Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
In the same vein, it was observed that the ballot papers and boxes used for the event were plain and devoid of INEC logo, unlike the ones used in the other PDP and APC primaries also held at the same venue, even as the delegates were asked to write the name of the aspirant of their choice.
In addition, the accreditation of delegates for the primaries took place at the campaign office of an aspirant, Mr. Mathew Iduoriyekemhen, with delegates who reportedly came from the 18 local government areas of the state in buses, many of which had Kogi, Bauchi, Imo and Delta State vehicle plate numbers.
Many had initially headed for the Ogbemudia Stadium for the exercise but met the place under lock with armed security personnel on guard, a development sources said forced the factional acting chairman of the PDP in the state and former chairman of the party in Ondo State, Mr. Ebenezer Alabi, to seek audience with the state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who ordered the re-opening of the stadium for the exercise.
Alabi had earlier rationalised the event saying that, “Today we are faced with the problem of who is the authentic person that can sign a valid nomination to INEC. Presently, the court ceded that power to Ali Modu Sheriff.
“So if we want to have a valid candidate for the election in Edo State, we must do something proper…And that is why we are here to comply with the order of the law and ensure that we have a proper candidate for our party in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.”
The factional primaries which had Mr. Matthew Iduoriyekemhen, a former member of Edo Assembly who had earlier contested in the other primaries, and Mr. E.J. Agbonayinma, a member of the House of Representatives, as contestants, did not start until 4pm.
Before both aspirants elucidated their reasons for seeking to fly the party flag on September 10, 2016, the deputy national chairman of the Sheriff faction, Dr Cairo Ojuogboh pleaded with leaders of the party to intervene and allow Sheriff to put the party back on track at the national level.
He said, “The problem of the party stems from a desire of some leaders of the party to handpick a presidential candidate for 2019, even when Sheriff has said repeatedly that he has no intention of running for the high office in 2019.”
The head of the electoral panel, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak said “what we are doing here today will result in the PDP taking over the seat of the Edo State government in September,” adding that “the crisis in the PDP is about the rule of law.”
The high point of the event was the decision of Agbonayinma to drop his aspiration and declare his support for Iduoriyekemhen, adding that he shared the vision of the aspirant which tallies with his interest in politics at inception.”
Thereafter, the delegates numbering 677 were given ballot papers to vote.
They were all expected to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for Iduoriyemhen since Agbonayinma had dropped his aspiration.
INEC nails him, okays Makarfi
In the face of the leadership tussle rocking the opposition PDP and the effect of its inability to produce a single candidate to fly the party’s flag at the gubernatorial election slated for September 10, 2016, in Edo, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has posited that based on court ruling, it stands on the recognition of the appropriate candidate of the party at the polls.
According to the chief press secretary of the commission, Rotimi Oyekanmi while addressing the press during the commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, he said “we were served with court orders concerning the Makarfi committee; thereafter, the Ali Modu Sherriff PDP went to court but they were unable to get recognition; so we are just following court orders by recognising the Makarfi faction.
“There is going to be another judgment coming up on July 4 in Port Harcourt; so INEC will act based on the ruling of the court. As it stands now the commission will not monitor the planned primaries of the Modu Sherriff group in Edo State; so until then the status quo remains.”
Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu also reiterated that the meeting with the RECs came on the heels of the conduct of the Continuous Voters Registration, CVR, in Edo and Ondo States, which was meant to facilitate a way forward for the preparations for the forthcoming elections, as well as the conclusion of polls in Imo, Kano, Rivers and Kogi States.
Northern group commends Edo Police, urges Sheriff’s arrest
Meanwhile, Northern Emancipation Network has commended the Edo State Police Command for sealing the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium venue for the controversial governorship primary of Ali Modu Sheriff’s dissenting faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Benin.
The group, which said it had been monitoring the events as they unfold, warned the Edo Police not to allow Sheriff to introduce his brand of violent politics in the state.
The group’s coordinator, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman at a media briefing in Abuja commended the Edo Police for being proactive on the matter.
Suleiman decried Sheriff’s penchant for violent and factional politics and called on authorities not to take his actions and intentions lightly.
“This was how things started in Borno State where Sheriff held sway as a political gladiator and entrenched a culture of violent intolerance,” Suleiman said.