The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to redeem itself and reverse to recognise ‘legitimate’ candidates of the party in the Nov. 6 governorship election.
National Chairman of the party, Mr Victor Oye , who made the call Saturday while briefing newsmen in Abuja said that there was only one APGA, which was led by him, with Labaran Maku as National Secretary.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that INEC had originally received the names of Charles Soludo and his running mate, Mr Onyekachi Ibezim as candidates of APGA.
However, citing a court ruling, the electoral umpire dropped the names and replaced them with Chukwuma Umeoji and Obiageli Orogbu as the new candidates of APGA.
Reacting to the development, the APGA national chairman faulted the action of INEC in recognising an illegal body and illegal candidates.
He said that the party was one, had no faction and its leadership which came on board in May 2019 was the legitimate body of APGA at the national level.
“Our leadership was duly elected on May 31, 2019, in a well organised national convention in Awka, and attended by all the organs of the party expected to be at the convention.
“On the roll, we have 608 members of NEC but what you saw on June 25 was a contraction, they gathered men and women from the streets not up to 50 and they called it NEC meeting.
“Again, what INEC did, we were the first political party that uploaded the particulars of our governorship candidate and deputy to INEC on July 2, in accordance with the electoral act.
“According to section 313, of the electoral Act 2010 as amended, INEC is expected to have published that name within seven days of uploading of those particulars but they waited till July 15, 13 days after to concoct what they did on July 16, 2021.
“For me, the only way INEC can redeem their image is to reverse itself immediately, they should not wait for one minute.
“After all, there is a court judgment from Awka that has given them a soft landing, the judgment from Awka was very clear .
“The judgment solved all the legal puzzles you could ever think of, so what is holding INEC from implementing that,” he said.
He expressed hope that INEC in its proposed meeting on Tuesday, would reverse itself and recognise the right candidates.Oye used the opportunity to stress that there was no crisis in the party, adding that APGA remained one and united.
He described those parading as a faction of the party as mere invaders.
“The thing is that we have invaders, they invaded our party, street urchins ‘with a master plan to destroy the party for the benefit of a particular aspirant’.He said the aspirant in question had bought forms, attended the screening and was screened out, wrote a petition which was dismissed before resorting to forming a phantom group which he called the opposition of APGA.
“APGA has no other national chairman and no other national leadership except the one led by me as national chairman and his Mr Labaran Maku as the National Secretary.
“No other faction so to speak has the right, constitutional, legal or legitimate right to speak for our party.
“So the truth of the matter is that, out party is waxing stronger and stronger despite the distractions because the whole essence of what is happening is to distract us from focusing on victory in Anambra.
“They know that a united and undistracted APGA will win the election massively, they knew what happened in 2017 so they are afraid it will be repeated in 2021,” he said.
The APGA chairman, however, stressed that the party was taking due steps to ensure the right thing was done by INEC.
He said the party under his leadership had served INEC the court order which he noted that the commission had minuted to the relevant quarters.“We have also written the Chairman of INEC, drawing his attention, calling all the legal odysseys, we had embarked upon from 2019 till date.
“Do not forget that we have a subsisting court judgment flowing from the Anambra Judiciary Awka division,” he said.
“The judgment was given in November 2019, giving the legality to the national convention conducted by our party that the convention that produced us as national officers of theparty, held on May 31, 2019.
“Why did INEC not bank on that judgment to publish the names of our candidates, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and his deputy Dr Onyeakachi Ibezim.
“Why should INEC consider a judgment from Birnin Kudu Jigawa, 9,046 kilo meters from Akwa.
“That judgment did not say anything about me, the judgment was talking about Edozie Njoku. So the court sacked Edozie Njoku, it did not sack me. Edozie Njoku has never been the national chairman of APGA.
“There was a court order from Federal High court Awka, directing INEC to maintain the status quo and publish Soludo’s name as given to it on July 2, 2021 but INEC did not obey that court order.
“We served INEC the court judgment from Awka on November 2020, it did not obey it. INEC must do the right thing and publish the names of legitimate candidates of the party,” he said.