By Favour Goodness
Barely 24 hours to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) guber primary in Anambra state threats, the party has assured stakeholders that the exercise will still to hold on June 23.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had in its letter to APGA dated June 18, 2021 said that a faction of the party led by Victor Oye did not notify it of the plan to hold ward congresses ahead of the the governorship poll within 21 days recommended by its regulations and Section 85 of the Electoral Act
INEC has communicated its position on the matter to the faction in two separate letters.
In one of the letters, the commission addressed its 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, 2021 read, “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 also read, “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 indicates 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 invalid delegate list will exclude the party from the election.
However, Barr. Tex Okechukwu,
National Publicity Secretary of APGA in a statement late Monday reassured that the exercise will still hold on June 23 as planned.
“We wish to reassure our esteemed party faithful, stakeholders and, indeed, the general public that our great party is fully prepared to conduct its Governorship Primary Election already slated to hold on 23rd of June 2021,” he said
The statement reads,”The attention of our great party , the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has been drawn to a letter with Reference No INEC/DEPM/UPPM/1/145 dated the 18th of June, 2021and signed by the Secretary of the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC).
In the said letter it was alleged that our party failed to notify the Commission of the Adhoc Delegates’ Congress which the party conducted across the 326 wards in Anambra State on the 15th and 16th of June 2021 respectively.
We wish to state categorically that the above position of the Commission is not in line with the dictates of Section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as Amended, as well as a plethora of judicial authorities in that regard.
“Our party duly complied with requisite statutory notices envisaged under the Electoral Act 2010, as Amended as well as other requirements clearly outlined by INEC in its Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of political party primary elections published by INEC.
“In line with the said INEC Regulations and Guidelines, our great party undertook the following procedural steps, to wit;
1) Publication of Timetable/Schedule of activities.
2) Statutory Notice of Primary Election dated the 26th of May, 2021 as envisaged under Section 85(1) of the Electoral Act.
3) Conduct of Ad hoc Delegates’ Election across the 326 wards of Anambra State as envisaged under Section 87(7) of the Electoral Act.
4) Submission of the list of democratically-elected Ad hoc Delegates to the Commission in line with Articles 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Political Parties primaries; as well as other relevant procedural steps/ requirements.
Undoubtedly, our great party, as a responsible entity, has never defaulted in complying with requisite procedural requirements for the nomination of its candidate in the past and will not begin now.
“Finally, we urge all our members and supporters to continue to pray fervently for the party as we enter the final stages of the successful nomination of our candidate for the November 6, 2021 Governorship Election in Anambra state,” Okechukwu said.
Meanwhile, the Jude Okeke-led APGA has accused suspended Oye of deliberate refusal to submit 21 days’ notice for his faction to tje commission after allegedly collecting $2m.
Oye was further accused of sealing a Senatorial ticket deal with those described as enemies of the party with a promise to help use technicalities to exclude APGA from the ballot.
The Publicity Secretary of the Okeke faction, Ikechukwu Chukwunyere, in his reaction, said the faction remains the only option and hope for APGA to have a candidate in Anambra since he dully submitted all the notices.
Chukwunyere said, “We are aware of the position of INEC on this matter.
“As disheartening as it is, there is still hope for the party.
“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 factiom now if the party must take part in the election.”