Ignatius Okpara, Enugu
The Enugu state chapter of All Progressive Congress APC has vowed to stop the November 2nd local government election in the area via a legal process, following the alleged unlawful disqualification of all its candidates for the polls by the Enugu state Independent Electoral Commission ENSIEC.
Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime
Addressing newsmen Sunday in Enugu, the state chairman of APC local government election committee Dr. Ben Nwoye, decried the development, describing it is a rape on democracy and attempt by the State Governor, Sullivan Chime to stifle opposition in the state through the ENSIEC.
The APC stalwart, who was the Enugu east senatorial candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria ACN in 2011, called on the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to intervene in the matter by prevailing on to Chime and Dr. Eneh to allow opposition participate in the election.
He also urged the military and other law enforcement agencies to as a matter of urgency come to their aide, saying opposition party members in the state especially APC “are now endangered species in the area.”
The APC chieftain insisted that the disqualification of the party’s candidates were an after thought, as they fulfilled all the requirements, including presentation of tax clearance certificates, which made ENSIEC to have earlier cleared them on October 11.
According to Dr. Nwoye, it is quite shocking for ENSIEC to have reversed the earlier clearance it gave to the APC candidates on October 14 based on alleged directive of the state governor.
He alleged that even before now, Governor Chime has been boasting at PDP rallies that only PDP was contesting the election and that it would be yes or no voting arrangement for sole PDP candidates.
Dr. Nwoye, further disclosed that ENSIEC wrote and mailed the letter of disqualification on October 17, a day after the expiration of deadline for substitution of candidates, and merely back dated it to October 14 so as to give it “fraudulent” legal backing.
He alleged that the letter was delivered to the party on October 19th, 2013.
Hear him: “I want the world to know that Chime has stifled democracy in Enugu State and his instrument of destruction is Dr. Boniface Eneh. He should rethink his action and allow silent voice of majority prevail.
“If they say there is no opposition why should governor instruct his Executive Director of ENSIEC to withdraw clearance he had issued to opposition?”.
He said the party would go to court on Monday 21st of October to seek injunctive relief to stop the election, adding that the motion would be an addition to a pending suit filed earlier by APC, challenging the imposition of 200,000 and 50,000 levies on chairmen and councillorship Aspirants by ENSIEC.
The disqualification letter signed by the ENSIEC Executive Chairman, Dr. Boniface O. Eneh, stated, thus “Following further findings during verification of documents submitted by the candidates, it was observed that the tax clearance certificates showed that they did not pay their taxes as at when due and at the appropriate place.
“Also it was further discovered that some of these candidates did not present any tax clearance certificate.
“This letter supersedes the Commission’s earlier letter EN/SIEC/AD/272 on the above subject dated 11th October, 2013,”
The three chairmanship candidates include; Chime Ifeanyi Edeh of Enugu South LGA, Chukwuemeka Anike Ogbuene of Enugu East and Odoh Christian Chukwudi of Igboeze south LGA, as well as 16 councillorship candidates.
The chairmanship candidates were disqualified alongside their running mates.
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