By Ernest Pius
Groups under the aegis of All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council (APC PCC), Centre For Leadership Legacy Int’l (CENTRE LII),
Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative (CGGCI), and the United Arewa Movement For Peace And Good Governmence Consultative Forum (UAMPGG) has condemned rigging against women candidates at the just concluded general election.
The Secretary of the Directorate of Agro and Commodities at the PCC, Retson Tedheke, who disclosed this in Abuja, at a press conference, on Tuesday, said that the most outstanding case is that of the Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Representatives, Hon Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, representing Isiukwato/Umunneochi federal constituency, which it said suffered the worst of electoral manipulation.
The press briefing was in partnership with other chieftains of the party and Convener, Lead Director, Centre for Leadership Legacy International, Omonu Gowon-Nelson; Coalition for Good governance and Change Initiative, Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi; and, National Coordinator, United Arewa Movement for Peace Good Governance, Hon. Abdullahi Bilal.
They urged the APC to use every constitutional means to reclaim the party’s stolen mandates, even if it means setting up a committee from the existing presidential campaign council to review what transpired during the elections.
“The APC’s victory at the just concluded General Elections is a validation of the party’s performance, since it assumed power in 2015. However, they are challenges arising from the general elections that the party must breast. While the opposition who lost elections in most part of country have continued to raise fake alarm that the elections were rigged, the silence on our part as a party striving to hold on the value of true democracy and also one that wants to play by rules of engagement, gives reasons for concern.
“I must admit that it is really disturbing to see that nobody is speaking for our candidates who were outrightly rigged out through votes suppression, intimidation of voters and obvious manipulation of elections results, especially our women who have sacrificed so much for the party and gave their best to it during the campaigns.”
“While we commend the recent steps taken by some leaders of the party during the Adamawa elections to protect Senator Binani’s votes, we want to see more of this action,” the group said.
Adding that’s “for many frontline and dedicated member of the party, who contested for various elective positions but were denied victory arising from rigging by the opposition political parties, we are asking that the party stand strong for them, to ensure that they reclaim their stolen mandates without further delay, especially, in the prosecution of their cases before the Election Petition Tribunal.
“In the next few weeks, we will detail some of the shocking irregularities, abuses and fraud that we have uncovered with concrete evidence during the presidential and national assembly elections.”
While calling on the judiciary to live up to their manifest mandate, the group said: “Most outstanding case in view is that of House of Representatives Deputy Chief Whip, Hon Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, representing Isikwato/Umunneochi federal constituency. It’s on record that Hon Nkeiruka Onyejeocha was the only APC stalwart in Abia State, who openly identified with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and stood on the podium to campaign along with him during the presidential campaign across the region. While we don’t want to go to some of the issues she openly told Asiwaju during his campaign in the region, which eventually came to pass, we want to say that the party must stand up and reclaim all its stolen mandates in the country.
“As you all know, concerned stakeholders in the region have finalized modalities to challenge the outcome of elections in the South East, especially in Abia State, where candidates who contested on the platform of Labour Party are still running from pillar to pole to validate the credibility of their membership in Labour Party even after elections have been concluded. This is one fraud too many.
“We like to put it on record that the Labour Party (LP) candidate for Isiukwato/Umunneochi federal constituency, Amaobi Ogah, was not a bonafide member of LP at the time of the party primary, because he left the APC and joined the PDP in March 19, 2022. On June 4, 2022, he joined LP and contested the party primaries four days later, June 8. By contesting the primary in June 8, it explains clearly that he was not a member of any political party according to the provisions of the law and Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended).
“Section 77 of the Electoral Act 2022, says “each party is required to maintain a membership register in hard and soft copy and to make such register available to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not later than 30 days before the date fixed for primaries, congresses, and conventions.”
Recalled that, on April 30, 2022, INEC demanded all political parties to submit registers of its members. The Labour Party held its National Assembly primaries on June 8. This was just 4 days after Amaobi Ogah joined the Labour Party. It follows that as of 8 June, 2022 when Ogah manipulated his way into the party to secure an illegal ticket, his name was not on the register of the Labour Party which had been submitted to INEC in compliance with the requirement of Section 77 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He further explained that the constitution makes it clear that a candidate must belong to a political party, which Amaobi Ogah was not at the time he contested.
While this is not the only basis for which she is challenging the results the Isiukwuato-Umunneochi Federal Constituency election of 25 February, we must also state it clear evidences electoral infractions have been compiled to validate our claims.
While Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha has so far approached the Court to challenge what members of her constituency have termed day light robbery hatched against her, we maintain that the leadership of APC at all levels must rise to the occasion to retrieve her mandate and that of many others who contested on the party’s platform but were robbed of their mandates through widespread malpractices, vote suppression and falsification of results as witnessed in the South East.
“Let us be specific to describe the election of the Isiukwuato/ Umunneochi Federal Constituency as a sham and charade and if allowed to stand, would have thwarted the resolve of the majority of the people of the constituency and set a bad precedent for future elections.”