The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) risk being disqualified from contesting the November 6 Anambra governorship poll for breach of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rules for nomination of its delegates for the primary.
The fear is hinged on the position of INEC that a faction of the party led by Victor Oye did not duly notify it of plan to hold ward congresses within the 21 days recommended by its regulations and Section 85 of the Electoral Act as prerequisite for selecting a candidate for the election.
It was learnt that the electoral umpire, through its secretary, Oriaran Anthony, had sent a letter to the Oye-led APGA faction informing it of non-receipt of the statutory 21 days notice for the special ward congresses for the election of adhoc delegates for the nomination of the party governorship candidate from its faction.
The Jude Okeke-led faction which expressed the disqualification fear has accused Oye of not submitting 21 days notice for his faction, alleging it was a deliberate plot to exclude APGA from the election.
Acting Publicity Secretary of the Okeke faction, Ikechukwu Chukwunyere, at the press conference, pointed out that the Okeke faction remained the only option and hope of APGA having a candidate for the Anambra election since it dully submitted all the notices.
INEC, has, however, communicated its position on the matter in two separate letters to both factions. One of the letters addressed to the principal counsel of a law firm, Omas and Partners dated June 18, 2021 read: “This is to inform you that the commission did not receive the statutory 21 days’ notice for the nomination of APGA Anambra State governorship candidate from Victor Oye led APGA. Accordingly, the commission did not monitor the said ward congress and as such, there is no monitoring report of the Commission.”
The second letter addressed to the national chairman of APGA also read: “This is to notify you that the records of the commission indicates that APGA did not duly notify the commission of the date of the congress where the ad hoc delegates were elected as required by Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended). Accordingly, the commission is unable to confirm if the Ad-hoc delegates list submitted by your party is the outcome of a democratic process as required by Section 87(7) of the Electoral Act 2010.The Commission wishes to emphasise the need for full compliance with all legal requirements for the conduct of party primaries as earlier communicated in the commissions letter to your Party dated 37 June 2021 (REF: INEC/DEPM/UPPM/119/1/37).”
The two letters by INEC have rendered APGA’s Wednesday governorship primary an exercise in futility given that the use of invalid delegate list would exclude the party from the election.
Chukwunyere said: “We are aware of the position of INEC on this matter. As disheartening as it is, there is still hope for the party. Although the Oye faction had missed the issuance of statutory notice, all hope is not lost if the party backs the Okeke faction. This is because the Okeke faction has served all valid notices for the APGA primary in Anambra. It is important to join hands with the faction now if the party must take part in the election.”
As at the time of filing in this report, Oye was yet to respond to series of phone calls.
Credit: Daily Sun