…we’ll seek redress in court if
By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
The House of Assembly aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi State, weekend described any purported attempt by the Ideato Okoli-led Screening Committee to unduly disqualified them from participating in the forthcoming Primary election of the Party as illegal, unfair and unjust.
The Aspirants who threatened to seek redress in court, if issues affecting them were not properly addressed by the Party leadership added that “The law is clear on this. Section. 84 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022, states that ‘ A political party shall not impose nomination qualification or disqualification criteria, measures or conditions on any aspirant or candidate for any election in its constitution, guidelines or rules for nomination of candidates for elections.”
At a press conference in Abakaliki, the Aspirants numbering 27 stressed that “we all paid our party dues, which is about N9,600 and we have the receipts”, adding that the Party has no ground to disqualify them from participating in the forthcoming Primary election of the APC in the State.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Barr. Chukwuorji Igodo alleged that the development would hamper the chances of the Party at the polls in 2023.
In his words “We’ve heard of the news making rounds that the Screening Committee Chairman, headed by Mr Ideato Okoli, is planning to screen us out of the just-concluded EBHA ASPIRANTS screening.
“We say that it’ll be unacceptable to us because it’s illegal, unjust & unfair. Governor Dave Umahi has allegedly concluded plans to cede Ebonyi back to PDP and the National body of the APC is playing into his arms.
“Now look at it this way, Governor Dave Umahi is the leader of APC in the State and he denied selling forms to 27 aspirants to the State House of Assembly and sold only to 24 imposed candidates.
“He further refused us screening until the National Secretariat intervened, then he lobbied and got Mr Ideato Okoli, his alleged hatchet man, and he screened us out with the petty excuse that we didn’t pay party dues.
“And we said that when we exhaust all the internal avenues for redress, that we will approach the court to stop APC from conducting her House of Assembly primary elections in Ebonyi and Dave Umahi said should go ahead. What kind of leader does that?
“See, the Governor wants to use us to do his job of killing APC in Ebonyi State without paying us. Imagine if 27 of us have just 20 supporters, that’s 540 votes, Umahi is pushing us away when even 1 vote is important to any serious party.
“If the National Chairman of APC does not stop Dave immediately, the result will be fatal and Ebonyi will be gone for good. Why won’t he allow a level playing ground for candidates, especially since the zoning committee had zoned the position to our different communities and wards?
“Personally, for instance, the House of Assembly position was zoned to Akaeze and there has not been any micro zoning. The Governor without recourse to the stakeholders of Ivo is propping the sitting council Chairman for the House of Assembly position, who is under murder investigation, for allegedly shooting an unarmed protester in his compound on the 23rd of July and there are eyewitnesses.
“Even when I think it’s a demotion, I also believe that the actions of the Governor are an insult to the respected stakeholders of Ivo and if nobody will tell it to him, I will. What is he afraid of? He should let democracy take its course in Ebonyi.
“The State zoning Committee of the APC had favoured our different Communities and Ward.”