Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Abia State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the appointment of Prof. Mkpa Agu Mkpa, as the chairman, Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) on the grounds that he is a card-carrying member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which is the ruling in the state.
The party expressed a lack of confidence in the neutrality of Prof. Mkpa as ABSIEC chairman to conduct free, fair and credible local government elections, and demanded his immediate replacement with someone that has no political affiliation.
Party spokesman in the state, Benedict Godson, in statement released in Abuja, on Tuesday, insisted that they had no issue with the personality of Prof. Mkpa, who has, repeatedly, proven his capacity and experience as a commissioner, a Secretary to the State Government as well as the vice-chancellor of the Abia State University Uturu (ABSU), but was seriously concerned about his political affiliation to the ruling PDP in the state.
He said: “Yes, we asked for local government elections, but the PDP cannot hoodwink all of us into an election where they have painstakingly done all the political arithmetic that would theatrically arrogate powers to their people using one of their own.”
The party accused Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, of strategically positioning his loyalists ahead of the forthcoming local government elections.
In his words: “Opposition is not just about criticism, but about constructive criticisms that would expectedly push the government in power to develop human face and do the right thing if truly they are sincere about governance.
“We are glad that the state governor responded to our demand for local government elections and is currently putting plans in place to make it happen. However, the recent appointment of Prof. Mkpa as ABSIEC chairman shows that he is obviously not ready for free and fair local government elections in Abia State.
“It’s on record that Prof. Mkpa is not just a PDP card-carrying member, but a chieftain of the party who, by that privilege, served as commissioner, Secretary to the State Government as well as the vice-chancellor of the Abia State University Uturu (ABSU).
“With his academic pedigree and achievements while serving as the vice-chancellor of ABSU, as well as one-time secretary to Abia State Government and a Commissioner of Education, one cannot doubt his academic capabilities and qualifications, but Prof. Mkpa, cannot give Abians a free and fair local government elections because he must dance to the tone of his party, the PDP.”
The party thus asked the state House of Assembly to think Abia first before doing something that will generate massive disapproval and threaten the credibility of the entire exercise. They also encouraged Abians to reject the appointment because it was never done with good intentions.