March 12, 2020

ABSIEC: Prof. Mkpa eligible, Abia PDP tells APGA

ABSIEC: Prof. Mkpa eligible, Abia PDP tells APGA
Prof. Mkpa

The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Abia state has said that Prof. Mkpa is eligible to be the electoral umpire in the state. The PDP called as bluff the claims by the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, that Prof. Mkpa is a card-carrying member of the PDP.

Prof Mkpa Agu Mkpa was appointed chairman of Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

Nevertheless, in an earlier release, APGA protested against the appointment while alleging that Prof Mkpa is a member of the PDP.

But in its own response on Wednesday, signed by its Acting Publicity Secretary, Chief Mrs Love Ezema, the PDP stated that apart from not being a member of its party, Prof Mkpa Agu Mkpa is eminently qualified to be appointed ABSIEC Chairman, saying the statement by APGA, as it concerns the appointment “is laughable and speaks to shallowness of reasoning.”

The statement in full reads:

“Our attention has been drawn to a recent press release credited to a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State, endorsed by one Nkem Okoro as Chairman of the Party, over the widely acclaimed and celebrated confirmation of erudite Prof Mkpa Agu Mkpa as Chairman of Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC).

For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that the legal proof of membership of a political party is the due registration and enrollment into the party’s register. As at today, Prof Mkpa’s name is not in the PDP membership register in his Amaeke Abiriba ward. He is therefore not a member of the party in the state or at national level regardless of whatever sentiment he has towards any politician. Prof Mkpa who is a nationally celebrated academic of distinction and award-winning scholar was the Vice-Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu, and also served as the State Commissioner for Education and later the Secretary to Abia State Government under different administrations in the state. He is not the first technocrat to serve his people and service to the people of Abia state must be distinguished from service to a political party.

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That the APGA faction formulated their theory of his membership of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the basis that Prof Mkpa was named among the members of the “Governor Okezie Ikpeazu Advisory Council” is laughable and speaks to shallowness of reasoning. A cursory review of those in that same list will reveal that most of them are elder statesmen in Abia State whose primary assignment was to advise the Governor on how the 2019 polls would be conducted peacefully and seamlessly. That council whose Membership included many who previously supported APGA and APC in 2015 must be distinguished from the PDP Campaign Council which is made up of card carrying members of the PDP. It is also instructive to note that in 2015, Dr Ikpeazu raised a similar council that included technocrats like Chief Emeka Onwuka and Dr Enelamah who helped to define the economic and political course of the Governor that has seen Abia experience economic growth while maintaining a pride of place as the most peaceful state in the country today.

Furthermore, that Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, eminent lawyer, Femi Falana and Prof Chukwuma Soludo expressed public comments about President Buhari as a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the run up to the 2015 general elections does not in any way make them card-carrying members of APC. Again, the constitutional proof of membership of a political party is ownership of a duly issued political party’s membership card.

The most laughable part of the release from Nkem Okoro whose antecedents are well known to Abians is the following statement: “Professor Mkpa was the Secretary to the State Government under the former PDP rule of T. A. Orji that gave birth to the present regime.” Incidentally, Mazi Nkem Okoro also served as an appointed Transition Council Chairman under the same administration. He should therefore immediately resign his membership of the factional APGA over such statement.

More so, we are aware that the Reverend Augustine Ehiemere-led faction of APGA expelled Nkem Okoro from the party last year. The Abia factional APGA Secretary, Barr Onukwubiri, recently wrote: “Nkem Okoro does not and can not represent APGA Abia state, he has since last year been expelled from the part. Nkem Okoro ceases to be member of APGA since 2019.”

In all, the statutory power to confirm a nominee for the position of ABSIEC Chairman rests with the Abia State House of Assembly. That House unanimously, with elected members of APGA participating, confirmed Prof Mkpa as a fit and proper person to serve in that capacity. That is the end of discussion!”