A socio-political movement, under the umbrella of Association of Ebonyi Indigenes Socio-cultural in Diaspora, has urged elders and residents of the state to reject Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, as a successor to Governor David Umahi.
The group, which called for a level playing field for worthy political aspirants, admonished that stakeholders in the state should not allow the governor to see them as a willing tool to achieve his devious plan.
The governor had anointed Nwifuru as his successor on April 23 during the burial ceremony of former Chairman of Ohaozara Local Government Area, Dandy Omok.
While unveiling the speaker, Umahi had described him as the next Governor of Ebonyi State.
Nwifuru, who has served as speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly since 2015, is in his third tenure in the House.
He was first elected into the Assembly in 2011 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Nwifuru was subsequently re-elected under the same platform in 2015 and in 2019, before he defected to the All Progressives Congress in 2020, alongside Governor Umahi and 15 other House members.
The Ebonyi governor again addressed a gathering of elders and founding fathers of the state on Saturday where he reiterated the need for rotation of the governorship position.
He also announced that the baton of leadership has been ceded to the northern part of Ebonyi state to produce the next governor.
Umahi said, “I expect you all to be vocal about equity, fairness, and justice for the peace of the state. What is just is for the North to start the second circle, after the North, the central, and then the South.
“So, I charge you to begin to draw the charter of equity now. People will say that it is a charter of equity written in the heart, but we are alive. I will support you to do justice to that. I have demonstrated equity, fairness, and justice to the task, leverage on that and be vocal about it. I will not want the south or central to make the mistake that will hunt them tomorrow.”
Reacting to the development through a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, AEISCID president, Paschal Oluchukwu, said that the group is maintaining its stance that only eminently qualified, competent and capable individuals with proven capacity can turn around the fortunes of the state.
He said, “Umahi’s equity call when he has already given a burial ground endorsement to the Speaker of the State’s House of Assembly is rather anchored on selfishness, greed and in fact, his desperation to continue to control the affairs of our dear State from behind the scene.
“As a matter of fact, the endorsement of the Speaker and his running mate- another grossly incompetent, unknown ‘female friend’ of the Governor, should they eventually make it to the ballot should be seen very glaringly for what it is: A third term agenda by the Emperor Umahi dynasty!
“We feel and rightly too that the governor is only deeply angered by the overwhelming unpopularity of his choice candidate and is therefore looking for a means to sell and push his evil agenda through our elders and founding fathers some of who have been severely subjugated and are also not very well informed on the happenstances in the present misgovernance of Umahi.
“Otherwise, were they not the same founding fathers he, (Umahi) snubbed upon ascension to power in 2015- insisting he does not need their advice to govern Ebonyi? Why market his unsellable and unpopular gubernatorial candidate through the same elders and leaders now?
“Or is Nwifuru not the same stooge who as the head of the Legislative arm of government has been approving loans, memos and requests without any form of debate just to please the Governor whom he considers and calls his boss? That Ebonyi’s debt profile has soared under the present human-less Umahi administration which mainly considers concrete-mixing as development is now audible to the deaf and visible to the blind.”
The group further warned that the younger generations won’t forgive the elders if they avail themselves to be used as puppets by the outgoing governor.