Abia chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the state, Prof. Francis Otunta.
The party accused Otunta of bias and harbouring deep rooted hatred against President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Prof. Francis Otunta’s hatred for president Buhari and what he stands for is legendary. He has boasted openly, to the hearing of many, most of who are willing to attest to this fact that president Buhari will never emerge as president of Nigeria, again.
“INEC REC in Abia state has displayed a monumental bias in favour of the PDP in the state (such) that allowing him to stay and conduct election in the state will be very suicidal to the opposition parties in the state,” the party said in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Independent national electoral commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu.
The February 18 letter, signed by the APC Secretary in the State, Perfect Okorie, and copied to the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was titled: Re: lack of confidence in the Abia State Resident Electoral Commissioner.’
APC also threatened to boycott the rescheduled February 23 presidential and National Assembly polls in the state if Otunta is not redeployed and a neutral umpire deployed to the state.
The party further said that Otunta, who is the vice chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia and also alleged that all the Returning/Collation Officers, as well as Ad-hoc staff he engaged for the elections are sympathetic to the PDP.
“…We therefore demand his immediate redeployment to another state and transfer of a neutral Resident Electoral Commissioner to the state,” Okorie added.
Stressing the REC’s complicity, Okorie said the results of the postponed elections “were already written by known officials of the state government” and their INEC accomplices.
He continues: “The results of the last botched elections were already written by known official of the state government, by name; one Mr. Chineye Nwaogu, who is a special adviser to the governor on N-Power Empowerment programme and his cohorts.
“An INEC staff was apprehended with about 4,000 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) en route delivery to her PDP cronies, for the purpose of rigging the election.
“The said staff and her cohorts are currently in the police custody.
“A PDP stalwart was also apprehended in Abia, with about 3,000 PVCs in his possession, obviously handed over to him by INEC officials in the state.”
The APC insisted it will not participate in the election of February 23 unless Otunta is removed.
“Be rest assured that we will not participate in any election on Saturday if this REC, who has manifested such monumental bias in favour of the ruling party in the state, especially in the released names of Returning Officers and Collation Officers, who are known friends and agents of the PDP in Abia state is allowed to conduct the presidential and National Assembly Election”, Okorie added.