Edo: Sheriff’s Faction Moves to Displace Ize- Iyamu as Card Reader is Stolen

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Adibe Emenyonu in Benin

Ahead of the September 10 governorship election in Edo state, the faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), loyal to the ousted national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise the candidate of the group, Mathew Iduoriyekwemwen as the PDP’s candidate f‎or the election.

This is as there have been reports that one of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) smart reader has been reportedly stolen in Akoko- Edo local government area of Edo state

A ‎member of the House of Representatives, representing Egor/Kpoba-Okha Federal Constituency, Hon. Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma was at the INEC on Friday to submit a court ruling ordering the commission to accept Iduoriyekwemwen as the PDP candidate for the election in Edo state.

But there was an altercation between the lawmaker and the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Mr. Rotimi when the later scolded the delegation for badging into the commission’s premises to address the media without any notice.

The plan of the Sheriff’s delegation to meet with the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu failed as the chairman was said to have left for Jumat prayers.

Addressing newsmen later, outside the INEC premises, the lawmaker said the commission’s decision to publish the name of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who emerged from a primary election conducted by the PDP National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi as PDP candidate for the election was illegal.

He said the INEC’s legal department should advise the commission’s chairman, Prof Mahmud Yakubu accordingly in order for the “rightful thing to be done”, adding that “INEC must obey court order”.

“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, Hon 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. Anybody that refuses to obey the law of the land will face the music at the end of the day.

“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 Judgement given by Justice Abang, said that in law, Makarfi does not exist, that His Excellency, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is the authentic chairman of PDP,” he said.

According to the release by the Administrative Secretary of INEC on behalf of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Sam Olumekun and made available to journalists in Benin, the smart card reader was stolen during the training of presiding officers and assistant presiding Officers.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission, has observed the ploy to tarnish the good image of the good people of Akoko-Edo local government area especially the inhabitants of Igarra.

“It is a challenge for the people of Akoko-Edo to fish out the Impostor who during the training of presiding Officers and Assistant presiding Officers made away with the training smart card reader which has not been configured for election.

“However, the Security Operatives are on the trail of the Impostor, and his co-horts.

“INEC is using this medium to send a warning signal to all those who may be planning to disrupt the commission’s processes on Election day to have a re- think, because the law enforcement agents will descend on them”, the statement said.