Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Aggrieved stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Imo State have raised the alarm that the party may perform woefully in the South-east during the 2019 elections if it fails to carry Governor, Rochas Okorocha along in its decisions on the choice of candidates for the election.
They cautioned that any attempt by the APC leadership to tamper with the outcome of the primary elections in Imo State will be a recipe for woeful performance at the next year’s election.
The aspirants which comprised of senatorial and House of Representatives’ aspirants from Imo State, addressed a press conference yesterday in Abuja, accusing the APC National Working Committee (NWC) of tampering with the outcome of the party primaries in the state.
Spokesperson of the group, Okenze Sylvester Obinna faulted the decision by the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC of the party to grant automatic tickets to Senator Ben Uwajimogu and three other members of the National Assembly from the state.
“Governor Okorocha is and still remains a leader of the APC. We want to use this opportunity to warn that we have to be careful with the way we handle the situation so as not hurt the electoral fortunes of the party in the 2019 general elections,” he said.
Obinna argued that the idea behind granting automatic tickets was alien to the Electoral Act and the party’s constitution.
The group claimed that it was privy to information that the party dropped the names of four of its members, including Prof. Nnamdi Obiareri, who were duly elected in the recently held primaries of the party.
While venting their anger on the leadership of the APC, the aggrieved party men said that Nigerians are interested in seeing that the internal democracy thrives in the political parties, and where the law stipulates how an aspirant can emerge as a candidate of a party through primaries.
One of the senatorial aspirants, Nnamdi Obaneri, who won in the Imo North Senatorial district, had his name removed and Kingsley Uju from the Ohaji-Egbema Federal Constituency was also dropped from the list.
“What baffles me is that it seemed they have carefully removed the popular candidates so as to make the party lose the election,” Obinna said.
He further explained that the constitution of APC provides for either use of direct or indirect for the election of candidates for elective public offices and not consensus as was being canvassed by some leaders of the party.
“The Electoral Act does not recognise consensus arrangement and we stand to be challenged. We wish to warn that the party involving itself in this practice is sitting on a keg of gun powder and in due course, we think that the party will be receiving a lot of shocks from the judiciary in up-turning the decisions of the party.
“ I have never seen a party that will deliberately destroy their electoral fortune. First of all, let’s talk about the primaries for the legislative seats, about four aspirants were denied their victory and removed from the party list submitted to the INEC,” he said.