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LGA Poll: Opposition Demands Dissolution of Enugu Electoral Body

From Ignatius Okpara

ENUGU NIGERIA, (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Accusation of compromise being levelled against chairman of the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC), Mr. Mike Ajogwu (SAN), by opposition All progressive Congress APC, in the forthcoming local government election  Monday worsened, as over 25 political parties that indicated interest to participate in the poll, stormed the Commission’s office, demanding dissolution of the electoral body and postponement of the exercise.

The parties accused the chairman of incompetence and alleged compromise of his office.

Addressing newsmen at ENSIEC office, Spokesman for the political parties, under the auspices of Coalition of Political Parties, Mr. Adonis Igwe, said that their call was as a result of the actions of the ENSIEC’s leadership, which they insisted has failed woefully in its assignment.

Igwe, who is the state chairman of Hope Democratic Party HDP, said that ENSIEC had disqualified most of the candidates of the political parties except those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) all to give the latter an undue advantage.

According to him, “We are telling the press that ENSIEC has failed, not only that they have failed, they are biased and misleading the good people of Enugu State.

“They have failed in the sense that they didn’t even know what their guideline is all about, they didn’t keep to their guideline, they will say one thing today and another thing tomorrow, which means they are not competent to be an independent body.

“They disqualified all our candidates who are strong contenders. For example, my own political party, Hope Democratic Party, I have a candidate who can even defeat His Excellency Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in his own ward and they disqualified him.

“We asked them what were their reasons for disqualifying our candidates and they said we should replace. But you cannot replace a candidate without knowing the defect of the other man disqualified so that you can make amends, they didn’t do that, they just disqualified them because they don’t want any challenge.”

Igwe said that the petition submitted by the various political parties to ENSIEC yesterday was the first step the coalition has taken.

“We are taking it step by step, we have called you here to tell the world what is happening in Enugu State, that ENSIEC is biased, and we are appealing that His Excellency (Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi) should dissolve the commission because the team is incompetent, they are inexperienced, they are taking sides, everything they are doing, they are doing it to favour the PDP and that is why three quarter of the members of ENSIEC are card-carrying members of the PDP, so the commission is not independent,” he alleged .

Igwe further hinted that the commission had initially asked the councillorship and chairmanship aspirants to pay N250, 000 and N300, 000 as against what the electoral law said, “but when we challenged them they changed it and released another guideline which said it is free to get forms.”

He added that ENSIEC has scheduled to meet with all the political parties on tomorrow to seek ways to resolve some of the issues raised, but noted that time was no longer on their side.

“After the meeting on Wednesday, you only have seven days to the election, so we think the election should be cancelled and shifted to a new date for the parties to get ready.

“The parties whose candidates were disqualified cannot replace them immediately. ENSIEC failed from the beginning, the guideline said they should bring out the guideline on October 16, but they released it on October 19. When they said that campaign should start on October 11, the PDP had already started their own campaigns and pasted posters of their candidates all over the place,” he pointed out.

He disclosed that 23 candidates of the Hope Democratic Party were disqualified; APC, 73, likewise the candidates of UPP, APGA and over 30 other parties in the state.

Reacting to the allegations in an interview with newsmen in his office, ENSIEC Secretary, Mr. Tagbo Ozoemenam Nnamah, confirmed that the commission had scheduled to meet with the political parties in the state tomorrow (Tuesday) to resolve the issues raised in their petitions.

The Commission’s scribe said after the meeting, some of the candidates that were disqualified if cleared, would be allowed to participate in the poll, scheduled to hold on November 4, this year.

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