A factional national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, on Friday, in Abuja, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to recognise his candidate, Mr. Mathew Iduoriyekwemwen, as the party’s candidate for the September 10, Edo State governorship election.
He said that Iduoriyekwemwen remains the “authentic” candidate of the party and not Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is currently being recognised by INEC as the PDP candidate.
Ize-Iyamu’s name was submitted by the National Caretaker Committee of the party, headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
Sheriff, however, said that INEC’s refusal to recognise his candidate could lead to prolonged court case.
Member of the House of Representatives representing Egor/Kpoba-Okha Federal Constituency, Mr. Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, who submitted a letter on behalf of Sheriff to INEC, explained why Iduoriyekwemwen should be accorded recognition.
Speaking with journalists at INEC premises, the lawmaker said INEC’s decision to publish the name of Ize-Iyamu who emerged from a primary election conducted by the Makarfi-led committee as PDP candidate for the election was illegal.
He said, “Today, I am challenging INEC to do the needful and be on the side of the law. We are not in a Kangaroo country. Nigeria is a great nation. Something good can come out of Nigeria.
“I have submitted a letter to the INEC chairman to, as soon as possible, with immediate effect, put Hon Iduoriyekwemwen as candidate of PDP for the Edo governorship election because the court order has been struck out.
“Today, Iduoriyekwemwen is the rightful candidate. So, there is nothing more to say about this than for INEC to be on the side of the law, obey the law of the land.
“There was a court order given recently by Justice Adeniyi of the FCT High Court. There was a case filed by Ize-Iyamu at the same court that has brought us to where we are now, but INEC decided to place Ize-Iyamu as candidate of PDP; which is the Makarfi group.
“It is also on record that the judgment given by Justice Abang said that in law, Makarfi does not exist, that Sheriff is the authentic chairman of PDP.”
Agbonayinma said it was the duty of INEC’s Legal Department to advise its chairman, Prof Mahmud Yakubu, on the issue.
Efforts made to get INEC’s reaction to the alleged letter seeking recognition for the candidate of the PDP factional chairman did not yield positive result.
Calls made to the telephone numbers of the Deputy Director in charge of Public Affairs and Voters’ Education, Mr. Nick Dazang, indicated that it was switched off.
The spokesman for the PDP caretaker committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, was also said to have travelled outside the country.