Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Abia chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) against plans to rig the forthcoming Local Government election in the State.
In a statement at the weekend, State APC Secretary Perfect Okorie said the party was aware of plans by the Abia electoral umpire to rig the election in favour of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the December 18 Local Government Election.
According to Okorie, ‘the rigging has started now because there is a clear intention of ABSIEC trying to exclude candidates of other political parties from participating in the election.’
The APC scribe said following the guidelines issued by ABSIEC after the party primaries, his party submitted the list of successful candidates
He regretted that instead of going through the various parties to reach the candidates as required by law, the ABSIEC announced that candidates should come to the Commission to obtain nomination forms, an action he said would have been if there were independent candidates who were not sponsored by political parties.
Okorie said when APC confronted the ABSIEC chairman. Prof Mkpa Agu Mkpa, on this development, he stated that the election umpire boss insisted that the Commission would deal directly with the candidates; a move he said was against the electoral law and open to some form of manipulations.
He further accused ABSIEC of assuming the position of political parties and behaving as if they sponsored candidates for the election by asking them to pay nomination fees of ranging from N100,000 to N400,000.
‘ABSIEC is equally trying to act as a revenue collecting agent for the State Government by asking candidates for the chairmanship and councillorship positions to pay the stipulated amount of money as ABSA fees before returning their nomination forms.’
The APC scribe said these are clear evidence by ABSIEC to stop candidates of other parties from contesting the election, a move which he informed APC in the State would stoutly oppose.
‘We condemn ABSIEC’s plan of announcing the result of the election two days after the election has been held, results must be announced immediately after the poll ended and at the various polling units as stipulated by law and anything outside this will not be acceptable to APC.
‘We want to sound it very clear that ABSIEC is not a branch of the PDP in the State and will therefore resist its attempts at making the election not to be transparent,’ Okorie warned.