Party Advisory Council Calls For Postponement Of Abia Election
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Abia state, has called on the State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC), to shift the date of the December 17, 2106 election to a later date to enable the parties prepare well.
The body is made up of stakeholders and representatives of all the political parties in the state, with one agenda to beckon on the chairman of ABSIEC to shift the local government election date, as a result of numerous complaints from all quarters.
Furthermore, it is expected to call for a round table discussion and harmonize the complaints so as to allow for a peaceful conduct of the election.
At a briefing in Umuahia, on Monday, the Chairman of IPAC, Emeka Okafor, said that the parties did not have enough time to discuss with the State Electoral umpire on the issues of high fees and stringent time table, that are conflicting with the preparation, as it offers limited time for party candidates to campaign.
According to him, the parties should be allowed to have enough time to play their own internal democracy in order to produce a credible candidate for the election.
He therefore urged ABSIEC to do the needful in ensuring a peaceful conduct of local government polls.
“We are gathered here today to let the world know that the body of all political parties in Abia State, known as IPAC, for want of equity and level playing ground for all the political parties and candidates contesting in the December 17, 2016 election, has resolved to ask the ABSIEC chairman to move this election date pending the preparations of the political parties and their candidates.
He stressed that “the reason behind this demand is because of the numerous complaints from the candidates contesting this elections, ranging from high fees as well as inadequate time for parties to prepare.
“This election is a grass root election, an election that involves our old men and women in the village, an election that interprets a lot in our democracy.
“So, if we cannot give our villagers what they want, if we cannot give them the right candidate, it will mess up the entire democracy of the state and the country, that is why we are demanding for more time for the candidates to campaign and hence we are calling for the postponement of the election, Mr Okafor stressed.
These issues are coming barely some weeks after the body, met with the state government to discuss the way forward but apparently the promises made may not have been kept leading to a vote of no confidence on the commission and the fear that Abians may not get a free and fair LG polls.
According to the Chairman, All Progressive Congress Abia State, Donatus Nwankpa, “the issue is that a lot of things have arisen in the course of this preparation and move towards the election.
“ABSIEC on her own has violated all the designated time and dates in their time table and as such we cannot be held responsible that we are the cause of this shift.
“This shift has become necessary in view of their lackadaisity, urseriousness and incompetence as most of their programs are not in tandem with that of the political parties,
“I must tell you that the members of IPAC are interested in this election ,we cannot be against the election at the local government level after all, the ruling party appoints their persons at the local government system it has been operating.
“So I believe this is the chance for all to contest and having looked at all the reasons before us, we cannot be guaranteed of a free and fair election because we want circumstances that would give us justice and give the people and candidates the desired confidence that this election would not be stage managed. that is the issue on ground,” Nwankpa said.
The ruling party in the state has however kicked off their campaign for the local government election, while the decision of the Abia electoral body to yield to the demand of the stakeholders, would be determine in the days ahead.