The disputed national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, on Wednesday insisted that only his faction of the party is authorized to present a candidate for the upcoming governorship election in Edo.
He, therefore, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to obey an Abuja Federal High Court order, which reinstated him as national chairman of the party.
Sheriff, who spoke when members of South-South Young Professionals for Good Governance visited him in Abuja, insisted that the PDP flag bearer in the September 10 governorship election in Edo State was Mathew Iduoreyekemwen.
Mr. Iduoriyekwemwen emerged from a primary election conducted by Sheriff’s faction as against Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who emerged governorship candidate of the INEC-supervised primary by the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee.
After initially saying it won’t recognize either Iduoriyekwemwen or Ize-Iyamu until it studies all the court pronouncements on the PDP leadership crisis, INEC on Tuesday finally accepted the nomination of Mr. Ize-Iyamu as the party’s authentic candidate.
But Mr. Sheriff, who was represented at the visit by the ousted National Vice Chairman (South-South) of the PDP, Cairo Ojougboh, said that Mr. Iduoriyekwemwen remained PDP’s authentic candidate for the Edo election.
“We heard a rumour that INEC has accepted a person other than our own candidate for PDP for Edo governorship election.
“I hereby dispel this rumour and categorically say that INEC has not yet communicated to us on this matter; INEC is still considering all the judgments and orders.
“As we speak today, the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja specifically ordered INEC to accept Iduoreyekemwen’s candidature.
“The Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, is not superior to that of Abuja.
“As such, the Port Harcourt court cannot reverse the specific orders that INEC can only accept candidate for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections from the Sheriff-led authentic PDP”.
The disputed chairman pointed out that the Port Harcourt judgment was not specific about the party’s candidature for Edo and Ondo states governorship elections.
“We call on INEC to obey the specific orders of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which stated that the commission should accept only the candidate submitted by Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, and on that I stand.
“PDP is one and not two. There are no factions in PDP and I remain the chairman of the party”, he insisted.
Mr. Sheriff also called on the party supporters and loyalists to remain calm as efforts were ongoing to address the issue.
“We also encourage our candidate, Iduoriyekwemwen, to continue with his campaign vigorously to ensure that he wins the election”.