Barely one month to the conduct of the general elections, the Enugu State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been hit by crisis over alleged fraud of more than N1.3 billion, involving the chairman of the party, Ugochukwu Agballah and the governorship candidate, Uche Nnaji.
Making the revelations in Abuja when aggrieved members of the party took a protest to the national secretariat of the party, leader of the protesters, Comrade Adolphus Ude and chairman, Concerned Members of Enugu State APC, said they were there to vent their concerns.
Ude who doubles as chairman, Mainstream Enugu APC and pioneer deputy chairman, APC, Enugu State, said there had been “impunity, gross misconducts, fraudulent administration, embezzlement of party funds, and impunity being perpetrated by the state chairman and the governorship candidate.”
The aggrieved members said the duo have misappropriated the sum of N283 million meant for the expression of interest and nomination forms to ensure that the party fields candidates for the governorship, and all the National Assembly and State Assembly seats in Enugu State to shore up their fortunes and also ensure that the party secures at least 25% of votes cast in the 2023 presidential election in the State.
They further alleged the embezzlement of about $1.5 million (N1.050 billion) being allowances for Enugu State delegates in the 2022 national convention and presidential election.
Speaking further, he said: “These and related matters such as the irregular and controversial emergence of the new state executive, which are also before the courts, were laid before the national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, while he was the chairman of the APC Reconciliation Committee.
“Our notable party leaders in the state were also on a protest visit to the national leadership in August 2022 where they submitted a petition calling for the removal of Ugochukwu Agballah as the State party chairman and appointment of a Caretaker Chairman to save the state chapter of the party from destruction and disgrace. The signatories and delegation included; Mr. Geofrey Onyeama, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs; Sullivan Chime, former Governor of Enugu State; Barr. Eugene Odo, former Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly; Ambassador Christian Ugwu, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Poland, among many others.
“Although the chairman promised to look into the issues, we can understand that pressing party matters such as the national convention and presidential primary, overseeing the various primary elections and the party’s preparations for the 2023 general election, which he had to undertake immediately after his election as the national chairman must have preoccupied him.
“Unfortunately, all the issues we forewarned against and more are happening in the Enugu State chapter of the party and we believe that unless urgent and drastic steps are taken, the party faces a disastrous and scandalous outing in the state in the forthcoming general election.
“There is also the issue of hijack of the funds provided for preparation for the forthcoming 11th January 2023 presidential rally in Enugu and visit by our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
“Although serious damage has already been done to the party by the duo of Agballah and Nnaji, who in the real sense are not interested in the wellbeing and victory of the APC, but only in making brisk business at the expense of our party, we believe that the national leadership of the party; our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu; his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; and our President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, could still work with the leaders and mainstream of the APC to remedy the situation before the general election.
“We are calling for the immediate removal of Agballah as the chairman of the APC in Enugu State and the appointment of a Caretaker Chairman to pilot the party through the 2023 general election.
“We call on the national leadership of the party to cause Agballah and Nnaji to immediately make available to the state’s delegates to the national convention and presidential primary election the allowances totaling about $1.5 million given to them.
“We call on the national leadership of the APC to cause Agballah and Nnaji to immediately account for the sum of N283 million released to them for the expression of interest and nomination forms for all the elective offices in Enugu in the 2023 general election.
“We call on the national leadership of the party to cause Agballah and Nnaji to release the funds made available for the preparations for the forthcoming presidential rally in Enugu.
“As loyal party members, we re-emphasise the need to address with dispatch these issues raised in our protest letter submitted here in order to reposition our party for resounding impact in the presidential election in the Enugu State.”
Fidelis Edeh, Director-General of Nwakaibie Uche Nnaji Campaign Organisation, told newsmen that the national headquarters of APC should confirm if such funds were released.
“APC should be the one to confirm and not the candidate,” he said.
Enugu State APC chairman, Agballah, said the claims made are untrue, insisting that they were yet to be mobilised financially by the national leadership.
“We’re yet to get any money. The governorship candidate is the person funding the campaigns,” he said.
Council Boss Vows To Deliver Fubara, Other PDP Candidates In Rivers
The Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area in Rivers State, Hon. Akara Okechukwu, has expressed confidence that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will win the forthcoming Governorship election in the area, not leaving out other positions down to the last councillor.
He stated that the foundation of victory has been laid by the Governor of the State, Chief Nyesom Wike, following his infrastructural development in the State.
Hon. Okechukwu said this while reacting after the State PDP campaign team visited his area on Saturday, saying that the people of Oyigbo were ready to reciprocate what the present administration had done for the LGA in every aspect.
“ I have no fear and I am convinced that the Governorship candidate of PDP Siminialayi Fubara, and other State candidates of the PDP, will win.
“The people of Oyigbo have vowed to vote massively for PDP because that is the only way to pay back Governor Wike for his good works, mostly in Oyigbo.
“As I speak, 95 percent of people living in the area have their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and this indicates sure victory for our great party. I thank the people for coming out en masse for the campaign. I am really happy,” Hon. Okechukwu said.
Also speaking, Chairman Revenue Committee of the LGA, Senibo Daniel Chijindu, described the massive turn out as historic, saying that it was an indication of total victory.
“ I will say that the massive turn out of people is historic because this is the first time people came out en masse for campaign. Honestly, this is an indication that Oyigbo is Simplified and totally PDP.
“Governor Wike has given Rivers State a facelift in all ramifications. That is why Oyigbo people said they are for PDP in totality,” he said.
The revenue boss advised those who registered for PVCs to go and collect their cards because that is only way to sustain the good governance of PDP.
In his own remarks, former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in the state and a stakeholder of PDP in Oyigbo, Hon. Nancy Nwankwo, said adequate sensitisation had been done.
According to her , women in Oyigbo were already prepared to celebrate the victory of Siminialayi Fubara come May this year, saying they will come in their numbers to vote for PDP.
“ I am convinced that Sim Fubara will do better hence he was a civil servant. He has proven his intellectual capacity faithful and truthful to replace Governor Wike,” she said.
By: Tonye Orabere
Ebonyi APC Chair, Reps Candidate, Others Arrested Over Alleged Killings
No fewer than 26 suspects have been arrested over the recent killings and arsons that took place in Ekoli Edda Community, in the Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Among those arrested were the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Stanley Okoro-Emegha, and a former chairman of the Afikpo South LGA and Federal House of Representatives candidate for Afikpo North/South Constituency in the 2023 general election, Eni Chima.
The police claimed they (the suspects) were responsible for the killings and arson that pervaded the area on December 26, 2022. In the incident, two persons including a Police Inspector, were killed, while two houses were torched.
The Ebonyi State Police Command, during a press conference, stated this in Abakaliki on Monday.
The command, which spoke through its spokesperson, SP Chris Anyanwu, accused the suspects of being behind the dastardly acts, vowing to arraign them in court soonest.
Aside from murder, the command also accused the suspects of arson, conspiracy, armed robbery and illegal possession of firearms.
According to the police, the suspects must face the wrath of the law, in spite of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor David Umahi.
SP Anyanwu said, “The key actors among the suspects arrested, volunteered useful ‘confessional statements’ that exposed the aggregate of overwhelming findings hereunder outlined:
“The fracas that engulfed Ekoli-Edda on 26/12/2022 ignited at about 1600 hours during a face-off between the security aides of Hon Stanley Okoro Emegha versus a faction of Ekoli-Edda youth believed to be loyalists of Hon Eni Uduma Chima.
“The protracted political rivalry/supremacy struggle between the duo, is the cause of the showdown that took place. Interestingly, the two political stalwarts hail from same community, belong to same political party and even live in close proximity.
“The visit of the APC chairman to his village on the fateful day, with his aides, infuriated the fragment of the youths in the area who are purportedly adherents of Eni Uduma Chima, hence the showdown that ensued.
“The war songs chanted by Egwu Famous Chinedu, the town crier, amidst hitting/blowing of his gong/trumpet, respectively, galvanised the youth into further action, hence, the rampage and escalation of the brouhaha.”
He added, “The investigation further revealed that an attempt to arrest one Aruah said to be the leader of the Ekoli-Edda youth warriors, brought in the warriors who were reserved for the purpose of fighting in the boundary dispute between them and a neighbouring community in Cross River State. The said warriors wielded sophisticated prohibited firearms and their actions further degenerated the situation.”
Release PVCs In Opposition Strongholds, ADC Urges INEC
The African Democratic Congress, ADC, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of hoarding permanent voter’s cards, PVCs, with the intent to favour a particular political party at the polls.
ADC alleged that the only explanation for the inability of some persons to get their PVCs despite the Commission’s promises and show of force was its deliberate strategy to disenfranchise some voters.
The party made its position on the PVC collection known in a statement by Mabel Oboh, the National Diversity and Inclusion Director, and the National Representative of the party in Lagos Campaign Council.
According to the party, “in Lagos for instance, non-indigenes are greatly affected by this deliberate act of disenfranchisement, based on feedback from our supporters.”
ADC noted that, “It is becoming more evident that INEC is not prepared to conduct a free and fair election come February, as a good number of registered voters have not been able to collect their PVCs.
“This is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise willing, but already fed up Nigerians from voting across the country.
“INEC had enough time to prepare for elections but it has shown itself to be partisan by denying people in the stronghold of the opposition their PVCs.
“We consider this action as rigging before elections. This perpetual act should not be condoned by Nigerians
“ADC also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure all eligible voters collect their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs.
“Our democratic systems and processes must be respected for the betterment of all, especially now that the country needs good leadership.
“As a third-force political party, ADC has worked very hard to ensure that we win a lot of seats and we are not going to fold our arms and watch our hard work go up in flames.
“We are also advising all those that have not got their voter’s card to continue to raise alarm.
“This time around, the people should not allow their mandate to be stolen from them.”
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