The Enugu State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the state Independent Electoral Commission of excluding its candidates from the local government election scheduled for Wednesday.
This was revealed by the new state Chairman of the APC, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah, while addressing the disenfranchised candidates and other party faithful at the state secretariat on Sunday.
According to him, the state electoral body did not publish the list of the party’s candidates for the 17 council areas and 260 councillorship wards, which was forwarded to the ENSIEC in December 2021 in accordance with the guidelines.
Agballah went on to state that the party would ensure that the election would be cancelled if the electoral body went ahead with it without the APC’s participation as the exclusion of the party was an intentional plot to disenfranchise its members.
“Enugu must rise for democracy to thrive. There is no democracy in Enugu State; it’s been a government of cronyism and elitism. On Wednesday, February 23, 2022, the local government election will not be held; if they go ahead, it will be an exercise in futility.”
Going further, the APC Chieftain announced that the legal team of the party, led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had already filed a suit at the state High Court to void the election for the unlawful exclusion of its candidates, which he said was a breach of the constitution and the Electoral Ac.
He also accused the Peoples Democratic Party-led government in the state of colluding with some unscrupulous elements in the APC to manipulate the ENSIEC in order to frustrate it from participating in the council poll.
According to him, the PDP government and ENSIEC having realised that writing results without the conduct of free, fair and credible polls would not work this time, allegedly decided to totally exclude the APC from the poll.
He insisted that excluding his party was the greatest mistake by ENSIEC.
In his words;
“ENSIEC disenfranchised all our candidates. We had our primaries to elect our chairmanship and councillorship candidates on December 18 and 19, 2021. We submitted the list to ENSIEC, which it accepted. But the ENSIEC decided to publish the list submitted by Ben Nwoye, a former suspended caretaker Chairman of the APC. ENSIEC knows that Ben Nwoye is no longer the chairman.
“We had written a series of letters to ENSIEC with an avalanche of evidence to show that I’m the duly elected chairman of the APC from our October 16, 2021 state congress.
“But the ENSIEC, led by Chief Mike Ajogwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, playing the script of the PDP-led government and in collaboration with some rogue elements in the APC, decided to engage in
mischief by excluding the party from the poll. This is what they have been doing in the past, which is why the APC has never won any election in the state.
“But the good news is that the state executive committee of the party today empowered me to void that election. I have done that before in 2007.
They can use ENSIEC. We have already filed a lawsuit to void the election. Disenfranchising our candidates and excluding our party completely negates the constitution, which guarantees our right to contest elections. They made a big mistake.”