From Fred Itua, Abuja
Ahead of the Anambra governorship election scheduled for November 6, there are strong indications that the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) may be disqualified from participating in the election.
The Jude Okeke-led faction of the party, which expressed this fear while addressing reporters on Monday, noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in its letter to the Victor Oye-led APGA, said that it has not received the statutory 21 days’ notice for the special ward congresses for the election of ad hoc delegates for the nomination of the party governorship candidate from its faction.
The Commission, in its letter signed by its Secretary, Oriaran Anthony, said it did not monitor the ward congresses and, as such, there is no monitoring report by the Commission.
The position of INEC through its letter may have rendered last Wednesday’s APGA guber primary an exercise in futility as the use of an invalid delegate list will exclude APGA from the ballot.
The Okeke-led APGA accused Oye of deliberately refusing to submit the 21 days notice for his faction, adding that it is a plot to deliberately exclude the party from the governorship election.
Addressing reporters in Abuja, the Acting Publicity Secretary of the Okeke faction, Ikechukwu Chukwunyere, pointed out that the Okeke faction is now the only option and hope for APGA to have a candidate in Anambra since he dully submitted all the notice.
The concern that APGA may not be able to take part in the forthcoming governorship election is hinged on the position of INEC that a faction of the party led by Oye did not duly notify it of the plan to hold ward congresses ahead of the governorship poll within the 21 days recommended by its regulations and Section 85 of the Electoral Act.
INEC has, however, communicated its position on the matter to the faction in two separate letters.
In one of the letters, the Commission addressed his position to the principal counsel of a law firm, Omas and Partners, who had earlier written and asked for the information while relying on the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
The letter dated June 18 reads:
‘This is to inform you that the commission did not receive the statutory 21 days’ notice for the nomination of APGA Anambra State governorship candidate from Victor Oye led APGA.
‘Accordingly, the commission did not monitor the said ward congress and as such, there is no monitoring report of the Commission.’
The second letter which was addressed to the National Chairman of APGA reads:
‘Please, refer to your letter dated June 16, 2021, forwarding the list of delegates for the nomination of APGA’s Governorship Candidate in the forthcoming Anambra State Governorship Election.
‘This is to notify you that the records of the Commission indicate that APGA did not duly notify the Commission of the date of the Congress where the ad hoc delegates were elected as required by Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended)
‘Accordingly, the Commission is unable to confirm if the Ad-hoc delegates list submitted by your party is the outcome of a democratic process as required by Section 87(7) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended).
‘The Commission wishes to emphasize the need for full compliance with all legal requirements for the conduct of Party Primaries as earlier communicated in the Commissions letter to your Party dated 37 June 2021 (REF: INEC/DEPM/UPPM/119/1/37).’
The two letters by INEC have therefore rendered APGA’s Wednesday governorship primary an exercise in futility as the use of an invalid delegate list will exclude the party from the election.
Meanwhile, the Jude Okeke-led APGA has accused suspended Oye of deliberate refusal to submit 21 days’ notice for his faction to the commission.
Chukwunyere said that the Okeke-led faction remains the only option and hope for APGA to have a candidate in Anambra since he dully submitted all the notices.
‘We are aware of the position of INEC on this matter. As disheartening as it is, there is still hope for the party,’ Chukwunyere said.
‘Although the Oye faction had missed the issuance of statutory notice, all hope is not lost if the party backs the Okeke faction.
‘This is because the Okeke faction has served all valid notices for the APGA primary in Anambra. It is important to join hands with the faction now if the party must take part in the election.”
He alleged that Oye is seriously romancing with people who do not want APGA to feature as a candidate.
As at the time of this report, Oye was yet to respond to a series of phone calls.