Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Edo State governorship election, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, has said he remains the candidate of the party and not Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during its August 4 display of candidates’ names against their respective political parties for the September 10 governorship election, included the name of Ize-Iyamu as the PDP candidate.
But Iduoriyekemwen at a news briefing yesterday, said INEC recognition of Ize-Iyamu was a nullity because from the ruling of an Abuja High Court, Ali Modu Sheriff remains the authentic national chairman of the PDP.
He said since the primaries that produced him as the candidate of the party was conducted by the Sheriff-led PDP which the Abuja High Court ruled in favour of, it means that “I, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen remains the candidate of the party.”
The PDP factional candidate who castigated INEC for behaving in a manner that shows it is particularly bias in an internal matter of the political party, described the commission’s action as “a theatrical comedy” because, according to him, the commission’s authority stops at being present at party primary election, which is not even compulsory, and supervision of election.
“For INEC to say that we cannot monitor Sheriff for such important and significant assignment such as party primaries shows that the commission is bias because it was notified about the exercise even though the Electoral Act did not say INEC must be present during primaries.
“What the Electoral Act stated is that INEC may or may not be present, meaning it is not compulsory. But as it stands today, the commission cannot rule itself out of bias because Ize-Iyamu merely took the body to FCT High Court which does not have the jurisdiction to give the ruling it did except a Federal High Court,” Iduoriyekemwen stated.
He continued: “Before the August 14 ruling in Port Harcourt, INEC said it was waiting for the Court of Appeal, which from the beginning, was made clear that the Port Harcourt convention was unlawful, held in illegality and therefore, any product of that convention remains illegal and a nullity.
“Therefore, the primaries election which is real and authentic is the one conducted by Sheriff who is the authentic national chairman of PDP.
Therefore, whether INEC chose to leave the winning candidate or not is left to it. INEC concern is to see whether party primaries and elections conform with laid down rules. But if they continue to behave the way they are doing, the judiciary, which is the last arbiter, will be called in.”
On why he has not commenced campaign as the other candidate of the party, Iduoriyekemwen said: “The PDP as a political party is campaigning and I am also doing my own house-to-house and door-to-door campaign. I am going to kick off a rally soon but not the conventional rallies you all know.”