National Politics

Okigwe Polls: APGA Talks Tough

… Drags INEC, Others TO Court
… Accuses Commission Of Results Manipulation
…Insists PDP, APC Field No Candidate
… Relies On Dissolution Of Charles Ugwu Led PDP Exco By Court

While the members of the APC and PDP are still mounting pressure on the INEC to declare their individual candidates as winners of the December 5 Okigwe bye-election, the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Imo has dragged the APC, the PDP and INEC to court seeking the declaration of its candidate, Attorney Charles Onyirimba as the winner of the said election.

This is even as they accused INEC of manipulating the results of Onyirimba to favour the APC.

Lead Newspaper had in one of its recent edition reported the readiness of the APGA to sue the trio of INEC, PDP, and the APC, claiming the winner of the controversial December 5 Okigwe by-election.

INEC had after the election of Okigwe by election held on December 5, declared APC as a political party winner if the polls without returning any person as the candidate.

This declaration of the APC as the winner despite subsisting court orders and judgement against the candidatures of Senator Araraume and Frank Ibezim was greeted with varying reactions from Imo people and beyond.

While some were of the view that Frank Ibezim should be declared the winner of the polls in accordance with the Appeal Court Judgement which qualified him as the actual winner of the controversial APC primaries held in Okigwe, others were of the view that since Araraume had immediately after the judgement of Appeal court which proclaimed Ibezim winner filed notice and stay of execution of the said Appeal court judgement at the supreme court, he should be declared winner of the controversial election.

While the INEC was still battling over who should be returned in APC, the PDP candidate, Emma Okewulonu proceeded to the court where he prayed amongst others, for the court to declare him winner, positing that APC had no candidate for the election by the virtue of two contradicting Federal High court judgment which declared Ibezim unfit for the polls by virtue of submitting fake results to INEC for the polls as well as the Appeal Court judgement which removed Araraume’s name as the APC’s candidate.

Imo State Chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) of removing the votes garnered by the party on Saturday 5th December, 2020. This was disclosed on the weekend when the party leadership met at the party secretariat, Owerri to take stock of stakeholders’ activities during the election. Recall that the commission which organized the election announced that the All Progressives Congress, APC won the election but failed to return any candidate as the winner of the election.

Opposition parties in the state have vehemently condemned the outcome of the election. One of the major opposition parties in the state, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA rose from a meeting on weekend after reviewing the outcome of the election. In a press conference by the state Chairman Hon. John Iwuala lambasted the Commission for manipulating the result in favor of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, adding that his party has decided to seek redress in Court. Speaking further, Hon. Iwuala pointed out that against the backdrop of two court Judgments delivered on 4th December,2020, APC has no candidate on the said election.

He explained that while the Appeal Court sitting in Owerri invalidated the lower court’s judgment that declared Senator Ifeanyi Ararume the candidate of the party thereby restated Mr. Frank Ibezim as the candidate. Another court of competent jurisdiction sitting in Abuja the same day disqualified Ibezim as the candidate due to certificate forgery. He insisted that based on the two court decisions, APC had no candidate in that election. Continuing, the state Chairman also contended that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who came second in the election was also not in contention of the election. According to him, the trial and appellate Court in Portharcourt Rivers State also invalidated the election that brought the state Chairman, Engr. Charles Ugwu.

He added that the implication of the two court Judgments invalidated its candidate, Chief Emmanuel Okewulonu. He, therefore, submitted that the votes for APC and PDP should be rendered null and void and declare the next party with the highest number of votes in the election winner. He, therefore, urged INEC to declare the candidate of APGA, Atty. Charles Onyirimba winner and issue him with a certificate of Return. This is even as the APGA boss accused the umpire of expunging not less than 7, 000 votes on the way to the local government area collation centers across the area. He, therefore, vowed that the party in agreement with her Senatorial candidate in Imo North Atty. Charles Onyirimba has put all the mercenaries in place to reclaim her stolen mandate from court.

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