By Anayo Okoli
ALL Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Abia State has called for the cancellation of the ongoing voters’ registration by INEC in the state, saying it was fraught with irregularities.
The call came on the heels of protest by members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, employed as ad-hoc staff by INEC in Bende town of the state, demanding payment of allowances denied them since the exercise began.
Vanguard learnt that it took the intervention of the PPA House of Representatives’ candidate in the area for April election, Mr. Benjamin Kalu, for the corps members to return to their duty posts.
APGA enumerated the alleged irregularities to include registration of under-aged persons, alleged importation of persons from outside Abia State for the exercise, hijacking of DDC machines by individuals, non-availability of DDC machines in some registration centres and harassment of APGA members by some unnamed local council transition chairmen.
Other irregularities alleged by the party are collection of registration cards by PDP agents in some centres, involvement of PDP council transition chairmen and workers in the exercise, lack of registration materials in some centres; registration of persons in private homes, proliferation and registration in ghost booths and potential disenfranchisement of Abia people in the upcoming elections.
A statement issued by the party and signed by its state secretary, Pastor Augustine Ehiemere, copies of which were sent to the Presidency, Abia State police commissioner, INEC REC,Director of SSS in the state as well as ICPC chairman, said with all these alleged irregularities,there was need for the exercise to be cancelled in the state.
The statement said the party was “totally opposed to the sustenance of criminality by any person or group.”
Abia govt faults APGA’s call for cancellation of voters’ registration
Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State has faulted the call by All Progressive Grand Alliance for the cancellation of the on-going voters’ registration exercise in the state, saying it was premature and uncalled for.
He also lauded the National Assembly on the extension of the voters’ registration exercise being conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, saying it will further boost the confidence of all Nigerians in democracy.
Special Adviser, Media, to the governor, Mr. Ben Onyechere, disclosed this in a chat with newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.
According to him, the extension will now afford the electorate the chance to express their choice in electing their leaders.
He said: It augurs well because it is a materialisation of the awareness pervading the air presently. Until now,INEC in Abia have not approached the government for help, though government is aware like in some other states that there are some fundamental short-comings which will be taken care of by this extension. I urge INEC to seize the chance given by the national assemblies extension of the registration exercice because it will be too dangerous to disenfranchise anybody.
According to him, the Governor has been going round to mobilise the people in order to see that all Abians to come out and register en masse, urging other contestants to do the same since this aspect of the electoral process is a collective responsibility of any well meaning aspirant in the state and elsewhere, saying, “in the end we will have nobody to blame.”