Factional chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Maxi Okwu, has protested the exclusion of members of the party from the list of delegates to attend the National Conference.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Friday, Mr Okwu says the exclusion of members of the party from the conference on the ground that the party is embroiled in leadership crisis, is unacceptable to the party as a Federal High Court’s judgment had sacked Mr Victor Umeh as the national chairman of the party.
He expressed optimism that the Federal Government would reconsider its stand and allow its delegates to take their rightful place in the confab, in compliance with the clear and unambiguous judgment of the Federal High Court that adjudicated on the APGA leadership dispute.
Candidates in the Anambra governorship election have alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, registered under aged voters who turned out en masse to vote for a participating candidate in the Anambra election.
The new revelations emerged from the leading candidates barely 24 hours after the INEC announced November 30 as date for the Anambra governorship supplementary elections.
Displaying documents which he claimed were printed from diskettes provided by the INEC, Labour Party Candidate, Ifeanyi Ubah, showed Channels Television a copy of the INEC voters’ register with faces of children.
He asked “why is APGA hesitating? Why won’t they want us to conduct a new election if really they know they have done well?”
Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chris Ngige said “APGA used minors to beef up voting strength in their stronghold. So the idea is that when they beef it up, instead of the actual number of voters (that are) resident in the area being like 2,000, they get 4,000.”
He alleged that this was achieved due to the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR), which was done in the state prior to the election.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Victor Umeh has however dismissed their claims, saying it is unfounded.
“The document they have was not certified by INEC and it cannot be coming from lawful custody… In this age of Information Technology where people use graphics to put all kinds of pictures in a document, I suspect that that was what they did.”
APGA Confident Ahead of Supplementary Poll
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APC, has insisted that their candidate for the Anambra governorship election, Willie Obiano will win any future election in the state.
Reacting to threats of a boycott of the supplementary election by other candidates as well as calls for the cancellation of the November 16 election, the National Secretary of APGA, Alhaji Sani Ahmed Shinkafi said that the party is fully on ground and will always come out victorious in the elections.
Alhaji Shinkafi added that the protesting candidates did not win enough votes to warrant any threat to the party’s supremacy in the state.
The Anambra governorship election has continued to generate more controversies with candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Chris Ngige, Labour Party, Ifenayi Uba and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr Victor Umeh, exchanging comments in grievance.
Part of the claims of the APC and the Labour Party (LP) are that many of their supporters were disenfranchised and that minors voted in the election that was declared inconclusive by the electoral commission, with a supplementary election scheduled for November 30.
On Channels Television’s Saturday morning programme, Sunrise, the two parties presented an alleged Voters’ Register that had the image of a minor voter marked, claiming that minors voted in the election, which had only 24.04 per cent of the registered voters participating.
Senator Ngige claimed that they were deceived by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and insisted on a total cancelation of the election.
Alleged Minor Voters
Senator Ngige expressed disappointment over the declaration by INEC and said that the decision to continue the election would “inflict more damage to the Anambra people and Nigerians”.
“I do not understand what he is saying. We are shocked that he said the electoral commission will conduct a supplementary election in Anambra State. Supplementary election with fraud voters’ register which is the foundation of any election?” he questioned.
The Senator alleged that areas where he recorded high votes in the Senatorial election were disenfranchised.
He tendered a copy of the alleged voter’s register and insisted that minors were allowed to vote in the incumbent governor’s local council to push up the number of votes.
The Labour Party’s candidate, Ifeanyi Ubah, cited the Electoral Act and pointed out that the electoral body violated the provisions of the Act.
“The section 20 of the Act says that voters’ register must be placed 30 days before the election and not 3 days,” he said.
Mr. Ubah also insisted that minors voted in the election.
“With all the atrocities in the register, I consider the result sheet invalid,” he stated.
Mr. Umeh, of APGA, the party leading in the election based on results released so far, described their claims as ‘losers’ statements’.
He pointed out that the register that the APC and LP candidates were tendering was apparently the one used in 2011 election.
“There is nothing indicating that the register is from INEC. There were minors that registered in 2011 before INEC used affix to remove under-aged people from the voters’ register.
“I did not see a minor in the polling booth I voted on the election day.
“If you have any case with the register, the place to use it is at the Election Tribunal,” he stressed.
He alleged that the images were superimposed on the document tendered by the oppositions.
A spokesman of the electoral body, Mr. Kayode Idowu, upheld the commission’s earlier statements, insisting that the voter’s register given to the political parties three days to the election was the same with that issued about 30 days earlier.
Mr. Kayode explained that in 2011, communities forced polling officials to register minors in the State.
“Communities conspired to do this and the issue of minors is a collective responsibility. We should dis-aggregate the issues that we are raising and look at who is responsible for what in this matter,” he stated.
The session was called off as heated arguments arose, as the guests could no longer control their temper.
However, it was a different scene outside the studios, as Ifeanyi Uba and Victor Umeh were seen exchanging pleasantries, confirming the saying that in politics, there are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends.
Lawyers have said that the electoral body lacked legal backing to cancel an election after it had declared its results.
To this end, the commission’s chairman Attahiru Jega, had on Friday told a press conference that a supplementary election would hold on November 30.