From; Madu Ezenoha, Enugu
Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) at the weekend disqualified two chairmanship and 71 councillorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Following the development, APC, Enugu state, Sun day protested the disqualification even as it threatens legal actions.
Addressing a press conference at the party’s secretariat in Enugu, the state chairman of APC, Dr. Ben Nwoye called on ENSIEC chairman, Chief Mike Ajogwu to resign his position for allegedly caving in to the pressure from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Nwoye while displaying a publication by ENSIEC containing list of disqualified candidates, alleged that candidates in the party’s strongholds were mostly affected.
He said that the chairmanship candidates of the party in Aninri and Enugu South local government areas, Barr. Uzoigwe Oleh and Hilary Okoye were respectively disqualified for no reason.
He further contended that even though ENSIEC has no right to disqualify any party’s candidate once presented by the party, and wondered why the disqualification should be sellective as no candidate of PDP in the 17 council areas and 260 electoral wards was affected.
“APC once more reaffirms that ENSIEC is a creation of Section 197 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) with its powers stated in paragraph 4 part 2 of the third schedule to the constitution. The powers given to it therein does not include power to disualify any candidate.
“Now sensing the prominent presence of APC in some areas, they decided to disqualify candidates in areas where APC has comparative advantage.
“A cursory glance and to mention a few; Udi-Agbudu Ward, target Chief Sullivan Chime; Eke Ward, target Mr. Osita Okechukwu; Obinagu Ward, target National Vice Chairman South East, Emma Eneukwu; and Aguobu Owa, Eziowa Ward 2, target Barr. Joe Mamel.
“Aninri LGA, Area 7 Councillorship candidates, target Group Captain Joe Oji (rtd). The irony of it is that no single PDP person has been disqualified, which means that in judgement of ENSIEC Chairman, Mr. Ajogwu, SAN, they are all saints”.
The APC chairman said that the party had summoned a crucial stakeholders meeting for Sunday evening to appraise the development and decide on the next line of action, noting that the party had already assembled lawyers who are critically looking at the legal options.
He said that the party’s call for the resignation of ENSIEC boss, Ajogwu was predicated on the fact that he, along other members of the commission were card carrying members of PDP and that there was a lawsuit against him.
A list of qualified and disqualified candidates published by ENSIEC at the weekwnd shows that Ezeagu LGA has highest number of disqualified councillorship candidates of APC with 15.
Udi LGA, where former Governor Chime, DG VON, Okechukwu; Minidter of Foreign Affairs, Goeffrey Onyeama and National Vice Chairman South East of APC, Eneukwu hail from, suffered second highest disqualification of nine councillorship and one chairmanship candidates.
Enugu North and Uzo Uwani LGA followed with eight councilloship candidates each.
Others are; Oji River, seven; Aninri, seven; Awgu, five; Enugu South, three and Nkanu East, four, among others.