2015: APC Blasts INEC Over Voters’ Cards Distribution In Enugu StateFeatured, Ignatius Okpara, Latest News Friday, May 9th, 2014
Says Opposition Parties Are Sidelined
Ignatius Okpara, Enugu
The Enugu state chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, on Thursday slammed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for deliberately sidelining opposition parties, in preparation ahead of the 2015 general elections.
State chairman of APC, Dr. Ben Nwoye made the allegation during a stakeholders meeting organized by the Enugu state office of INEC to commence distribution of permanent voters’ cards and fresh registration of voters in over 600 polling units in the area.
Nwoye, warned the commission not to be -partisan in the distribution of permanent voter cards in the state.
According to him, the call became necessary because APC was not invited for the forum.
He said: “The APC was not invited for this meeting and this is undemocratic because all opposition parties are to be carried along.
“What is happening is not a reflection of a democratic process but a meeting between INEC and the ruling People Democratic party PDP, and I happened to gate-crash.
“I was coming in from a long journey when a concerned citizen called me and said there was a rumour that there might be a meeting between INEC, political parties and other stakeholders.
“I made a call to a staff of INEC who confirmed that there was indeed a meeting of this nature”, he said.
Nwoye, who is also the state Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), said that the gathering was “skewed to favour the PDP’’.
“Our people are not here, the market women, students, Okada riders and other stakeholders are not here” he added.
On the three days allotted for the distribution of the permanent voter card, Nwoye said that the timeline was grossly inadequate.
“We know that the last time they did registration of voters it took them over one week to put their computer on and another one week to buy fuel.
“Now that the permanent voter cards have been manufactured after over three years, you want to distribute them in three days.
“Between the last voters’ registration and now, millions of Nigerians have turned 18 years. Yet they also want to use five days to register such people”, he added.
The Enugu APC chairman, pointed out that residents of the state must not be disenfranchised for whatever reason.
In his speech, the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Lawrence Azubuike, said that all opposition parties were invited for the meeting, though, could not provide any proof to that effect.
He said: “The information was to invite all political parties in the state and I was informed that the APC was invited and that the invitation was sent to the address of the office we know”, he said.
Azubuike however, assured that INEC would be fair to all stakeholders in all cases, adding only those that were non-partisan would be engaged to distribute the cards and to register prospective voters.
He said that the distribution of the permanent voter card would take place between May 23 and May 25.
Azubuike, added that the continuous voter registration would take place between May 28 and June 1, 2014.
Also speaking to newsmen, chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Enugu State, Mr. Nwachukwu also corroborate the APC chairman,s statement that he was not invited to the meeting.
The APGA chairman, equally expressed concerns on the short time allotted the upcoming exercise by the. Nigerian,s electoral body, INEC
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