Nineteen out of the 28 aspirants of the APGA observed irregularities against the party’s constitution and urged the committee chairman to halt the election.
George Onyejiuwa and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The rescheduled All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries in Imo State again yesterday ran into a hitch.
While APGA delegates after several hours of waiting to cast their votes were sent back home at about 7:00 p.m. by the electoral committee in charge of the election, seven out of the 12 aspirants of the APC said they were boycotting the polls and would only accept the result declared by Ahmed Gulak at the first primary.
Nineteen out of the 28 aspirants of APGA had observed some irregularities against the party’s constitution and, therefore, urged the committee chairman to halt the election process.
One of the aspirants, Sam Amadi, who disclosed this to Sunday Sun alleged that the State Working Committee of the party failed to meet the guidelines and legal requirements for the election.
He maintained that high-level irregularities have trailed the election even before it was conducted.
Amadi added that delegates were stranded, waiting to cast their votes before the election was called off by the NWC of the party.
The aspirants, according to Amadi, would have to observe the constitution of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which had ordered that Sunday (today) is the deadline for all primary elections by allowing the name of a candidate who is not from Imo or the national chairman of the party to stand in for the aspirants while they reach for a possible solution to their problem.
“The party failed to meet the guidelines and all modalities for the election, after waiting endlessly for materials to arrive the venue of the election, the NEC deemed it fit to suspend the election,” he said.
According to him, the party has concluded plans to opt for a consensus candidate to represent it.
For the APC, one of the governorship aspirants, Chuks Ololo, also yesterday joined the other aspirants who had earlier backed out of the rescheduled governorship primary election, describing the entire exercise as a sham.
He claimed that the exercise was marred by thuggery and violence, which he said denied the majority of party members in his local government the opportunity of voting for their choice candidate.
Ololo, who briefed journalists at his campaign office in Owerri, said that democracy is the government of the people and not of imposition.
“We came out this morning by 8:00 expecting to have a free, fair and credible primaries, we waited from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the materials to arrive and when it eventually arrived at the local council area, which is Owerri North, the few materials did not get to most of the wards.
“The worst of it was that we were being harassed by strange persons who came to disrupt the election because they were not electoral officials. I had to appeal to my supporters not to take the laws into their hands. What we are witnessing is not the change we have yearned for. We cannot continue to be part of this fraudulent exercise,” he said.
Ololo, therefore, urged the national leadership of the party to cancel the fraudulent governorship primaries in Imo.
But Uche Nwosu applauded the rescheduled election, saying that he was happy that it was through direct primary as directed by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party.
Nwosu who spoke as he cast his vote at the Eziama Obire ward, Nkwere in Orlu Local Government Area of the state noted that the option for direct primary is a blessing in disguise for him, assuring that with 4,815 votes declared by the returning officer of the ward, he would emerge victorious at the end of the exercise.
Earlier, six of the aspirants, including the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere; Senator Hope Uzodinma; the former SSG, George Eche; Jude Ejiogu, Chris Nlemeoha, and Peter Gbujie, had distanced themselves from the rescheduled primary, holding fast to the election result declared in Abuja by Ahmed Gulak.
It would be recalled that the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, who described the results that produced Uzodinma and Nwosu as parallel winners as fake, cancelled the first primary election held on October 1.