The All Progressives Congress (APC), in Abia state, has rejected the appointment of Professor Mkpa Agu Mkpa as the new chairman of Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC).
The party insisted that Mkpa is a card carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and would not conduct transparent election into the seventeen local government areas of Abia state.
Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, had approved the appointment of Professor Mkpa Agu Mkpa as the new chairman of ABSIEC.
Professor Mkpa’s appointment was contained in a press release signed by the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Anthony Agbazuere and made available to newsmen in Umuahia, the state capital last week.
On Tuesday, the Abia State House of Assembly screened and confirmed the nomination of Mkpa as chairman.
The screening which took place in the executive session of the Assembly was presided over by the Speaker, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji.
However, in a press release forwarded to our source on Tuesday night, by the Publicity Secretary of APC in Abia State, Comrade Benedict Godson, the party criticised the state government on the appointment, adding that it had shown the unreadiness of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led administration to conduct free, fair and credible local government council poll in the state.
He urged well meaning Abians and all serious political parties to join hands to reject what it termed as “obnoxious appointment” which potents nothing good for opposition politics in Abia.
His words, “Abians can see how our state is managed like a vast farmland situated in a desert area bearing no fruit from year to year. So dry that we have become a state for mockery nation wide. You are also aware that the All Progressives Congress(APC), as a party committed towards taking the dividends of democracy to the grassroots, few months ago, called on the Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu to organize a local government election. We are glad that the governor has responded and is currently putting plans in place to make it happen.
“However, his recent appointment of the Chairman of ABSIEC shows that someone is not ready for free and fair election in Abia. Amongst all parties. It is on record that Prof. Mkpa is not just a PDP card carrying member, but a Chieftain of the party who by that privilege has served as a Commissioner, a Secretary to the State Government as well as the Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU).
“But there’s no way blue will replace purple no matter their similarities. We cannot ask for fish and you give us snake. We cannot ask for bread and you give us stone. Prof. Mkpa cannot give Abians a free and fair election because he must dance to the tone of his party, the PDP.
“We don’t have any problem with his personality. The issue lies with his political affiliation and loyalty with the PDP. He’s a card carrying member of the PDP. This is not hidden. They have just started their first rigging process which is what they are known for. We want conduct of LGA election, but the PDP cannot hoodwink all of us into an election where they have painstakingly done all the political arithmetic aimed to theatrically arrogate powers to their people using one of their own”.
Reacting to the APC claims, Mkpa denied allegations that he is a card carrying member of the PDP.
Mkpa, who spoke to newsmen shortly after his screening in the Executive session of the Abia State House of Assembly on Tuesday, challenged those peddling the allegation to come forward with evidence of his being a registered member of any party.
“I am not a card carrying member of any political party even though I have served in various positions in the state. Let me also use this opportunity to assure all Abians that under my watch, we will conduct free and fair elections with utmost transparency. But, we will not tolerate anyone with fake or forged certificate. I want to encourage such people to disqualify themselves now,” Mkpa posited.
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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.
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