Says action criminal, illegal and unacceptable
Urges Buhari, NASS to intervene to save democracy
By Chris Ochayi
The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of conspiracy in the substitution of its candidate for the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, Professor Charles Soludo, declaring that the illegality was unacceptable and will not stand.
National Chairman of APGA, Dr Victor Oye, who blew hot on the alleged grand conspiracy to scuttle the party’s chances at the polls, wanted on the grave consequences and embarrassment the plot will cause the country.
Dr Oye, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to, as a matter of urgency, intervene by ensuring that the management of INEC do the needful in order to save the nation and it’s democracy from the impending doom.
Describing the action as criminal and legally unattainable, Dr Oye said, “INEC cannot do that. INEC owns it as a duty to publish the names of Prof Chukwuma Soludo as our governorship candidate and his deputy, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim as a matter of responsibility.
According to him, ‘There are fillers from INEC that some persons want to infiltrate INEC to publish an aspirant that did not make it through to the primary of APGA and to announce him as the governorship candidate of APGA.
“If that development comes to be true, it will be a big embarrassment to Nigeria’s political system, and embarrassment to Nigeria as a nation and its leaders, particularly to the president, Muhammadu Buhari who is a stickler for rule of law and equity.
”You will recall that we started our processes for governorship primary election by publishing our timetable; we followed through to the primary that held on June 23, 2021 in Awka, duly monitored by INEC. Result turned in by the monitoring committee of INEC. As at July 23, it was only APGA under my leadership that have conducted its primary.
“We are the first to conduct our primary among the three biggest political parties in Nigeria. And our primary was aired live by national televisions and witnessed by the whole world.
“After the primary, INEC sent a letter to me to come forward to collect the code for uploading of the particulars of our candidate and his deputy.
“On the July 2, in accordance with the Electoral Act and the Timetable of INEC, we uploaded the particulars of our governorship candidate Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and his deputy, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim. Immediately we concluded that, INEC duly acknowledged it.”
Oye further said that “We also submitted the hardcopy at the INEC office and it was duly acknowledged.
“According to section 31(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), it states “The Commission shall within seven days of the receipt of the particulars of candidates, published the same in the constituency where the candidate intends to contest the election.”
“We submitted our particulars of our candidate on July 2, INEC received and acknowledged it the same day. According to the Electoral Act, INEC supposed to have published APGA candidate name, seven days after receiving it, which is July 9.
“Now the question is, why did INEC wait till July 16? Because the information we got was the INEC delayed till today so that they will issue nomination papers and documents to a stranger, and alien to APGA for them to fill and return today for their names to be filled as APGA candidate.
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“That is unacceptable, it is criminal, it legally unattainable. INEC cannot do that. INEC owns it as a duty to publish the names of Prof Charles Soludo as our governorship candidate and his deputy, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim as a matter of responsibility.
“Anything outside that the commission be dragging itself name to the mud. We will not accept it. We are building an egalitarian nation.
He also queried that “Why should we allow selfishness, clannishness and greed to blind the people’s vision and sense of reasoning? What was the intention of INEC for not publishing the name of Professor Soludo seven days after it was submitted?
“You also know that a Federal High Court in Awka gave an order directing INEC to maintain the status quo and receive the particulars submitted to it by my leadership and publish the same. This is an order of court. Why did INEC want to disobey a valid order of court of competent jurisdiction?
“We feel it is strange because we think the court might have been misled. This is true because no judge will issue such order when there is subsisting National executive of the party. What Jude did is illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate and it should not stand.
“What is going on is a plot to embarrass our party because they know it cannot stand. The same thing happened in 2017 during Governor Willie Obiano bid for second term. The same manipulation but in the end, everything was thrown out and Governor Obiano’s candidacy was upheld by INEC.
“I use this opportunity to called on President Buhari and leadership of the National Assembly to call INEC to order. The law enforcement agencies should deal with these impostors who are causing confusion in Nigeria political life.
“They want to cause confusion in our party because they are afraid that APGA will win again. If anybody is strong politically, he should go to the people to test his strength and not go through the back door.
“We know that it will not last. We have already appealed against the Jigawa judgement and the court sat on the 14th of this July in Kano. To tell you how wicked the impostors are, apart from going to Jigawa to get the bizarre judgement in which my name was not even there, they procure a fake lawyer to present INEC and APGA.
“They went to court in Jigawa to confuse the judge, pretending that they were the genuine party leaders. How can you talk about change of leadership of APGA with the national chairman who is still alive, and without adhering to constitution of the party.
“As a law abiding party, we have appealed against the Jigawa judgement.”