By Enyim Enyim
Some members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Anambra North senatorial zone have protested against alleged rigging and manipulation of the ward delegate primaries by the state leader of the party, Chief Mike Kwentor.
The placard-carrying protesters, drawn from the seven local government areas that make up Anambra North senatorial zone, said officials sent by the state Exco to conduct the primaries, denied them forms while supporters of one of the aspirants, Senator Joy Emodi were issued forms.
The placards read: “Anambra North is not for sale,” “Mr Peter Obi, we want internal democracy in APGA”, “APGA believes in one man, one vote”, “Anambra North is not for Agulu people, Stop imposition, APGA can not afford to lose Anambra North”, “APGA is not Agulu party please and Your millions cannot buy the conscience of APGA members.”
Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat of APGA in Awka, one of the spokesmen of the group, Mr Obiajulu Nwoye, from Nteje in Oyi local government, said the delegate primaries was fraught with irregularities ranging from hoarding of forms to exclusion of names of members in the register.
“We have 15 statutory delegates and 10 delegates from each wards but we found out that only three delegates in each wards were given forms. Elsewhere, the forms were not even found, especially in Oyi, Anambra East, Anambra West, Onitsha North and Onitsha South,” Nwoye said.
According to him, those who dared to demand for forms were given the beating of their lives, including ward chairmen by suspected hired thugs of one of the aspirants.
Narrating their ordeal to two national officers at the state secretariat who were there for the screening of aspirants, one of the leaders of the group, Udealor Chinedu from Anambra West, said all they wanted was a free and fair primaries and congress, describing the delegate primaries in the area as a show of shame.
Addressing the protesters, the national officers, Dr Gbenga Afen, National Organising Secretary and Chief Chris Uche, Deputy National Chairman, South, said they were aware of the problem and promised to resolve the matter amicably.
Uche said: “ A good father cannot favour one of his children against the other. We have been criticising other political parties for not practicing internal democracy and we cannot do the same. We assure you that we must ensure that the right thing is done. No aspirant will be favoured against the other”
The protesters marched to Government House, Awka, and later to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, office where they further laid their complaint.
At INEC, they were addressed by the Administrative Officer, Mr Anthony Agbache, who assured them that the matter would be resolved as soon as the commission got reports from their local government INEC officers.
“This time around political parties should not impose anybody on their members. They should embrace internal democracy,” he advised.