The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is currently facing serious challenges over grand plot to substitute its Governorship candidate, Mr. Tony Ejiogu.
A leader of the party in the state and native of Ihitte Uboma, Eberechukwu Ezeike disclosed that a displaced Governorship aspirant in one of the political parties in the state is said to have paid heavily to allow him replace the Governorship candidate in the November 11, 2023 election.
According to him, “The primaries of our dear party the All progressive Grand Alliance, has come and gone and the election held on the 16th of April, 2023 produced Tony Ejiogu as the candidate of our party for the November 11 governorship election in Imo state.”
He maintained that, “This process didn’t come without its glaring challenges, from the attack on delegates at the venue of the exercise to several attempts by extraneous forces in collaboration with some unscrupulous elements in our party to derail the exercise but were successfully resisted by the Patriotic efforts of leaders and Members of our party in Imo state, who are eager to rescue Imo from the misrule of the day in the state.”
Narrating further, “The primaries was adjuged free, fair and credible, the candidate is a quitessential administrator and widely accepted by majority of the members of APGA in our dear state, Imo.
Surprisingly, there are indications making the rounds in our party that some persons have offered huge sum of money to our duly nominated candidate and leadership of our party to handover our collective mandate to a person who is neither a member of our party nor participated in the primaries of our party.
The above allegation, portends danger as our party risks not having a candidate for the November 11 Governorship election as the enabling laws forbid the said action.”
The party leader further revealed, “By the electoral act section 84 (1) precisely, a person can only become the candidate of the party through the process of a primary election, this position has been supported by the Supreme Court court in a plethora of cases and so the question now is, this fellow they want to handover this ticket to, did he participate in our Party’s primaries? of course no.”
“Incidentally, there are only three (3) ways to replace a nominated Candidate whose name has been duly submitted to INEC pursuant to the electoral act 2022 and the INEC guidelines for the 2023 general elections, either by the candidate withdrawing, death of a candidate or by a valid Court Order.
He therefore said that following the above scenarios, the possible option available for such an act is the withdrawal of Ejiogu and the conduct of another primaries to nominate a fresh candidate, which now throws up a new twist.
He said, “In order for a valid primaries to be held to replace a withdrawn Candidate, the clear provisions of section 82 (1) and (5) must be adhered to, which provides that for a political party to hold a congress for the nomination of a candidate, the political party shall give INEC at least twenty one days (21) notice of its intention to conduct a primary.”
The party Chieftain further disclosed that, “Consequently, the last date for the replacement of withdrawn Candidates by the 2023 electoral guidelines is the 26th of May, 2023, the issue now is, has APGA notified INEC that it wants to hold another primaries as at today the 8th of May 2023? Invariably from the foregoing, any such notification to INEC at this point will not suffice as there are less than 21 days between today and the 26th of May deadline and section 82 (5) provides that Failure by any party to give INEC the legally prescribed 21 days notice, automatically renders that congress invalid and void, I pray our party does not fall into this trap.”, he said
“Also there’s the contentious issue of the provisions of section 77 (2) and (3) of the electoral act that mandates parties to submit the list of its membership register at least 30 days before the date of its primaries. This provision is meant to forestall none members of a political party from contesting or voting in a primary election of any party, another poser is, this fellow that wants to pay huge sums for our ticket, was his name on the register of our party thirty days before the primaries? Was he a member of another party as at the date of our primaries?”
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He advised, “Our party will do itself a world of good to avoid this self destruction being offered them by persons who are careless about Imo state and only want to increse their wallet at the expense of our party and the wish of the imo people in the 2023 election.”
He warned, “APGA in Imo is at the precipe of destruction if the voice of reason is not adhered to stop this plot to destroy our 2023 guber ticket. May APGA in Imo prevail over the agents of destruction and soar to greater heights in the coming elections in Imo.”