By Douglas Okoro
Abakaliki – The All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday reiterated that the party would not participate in the Ebonyi local government election, slated to hold on Saturday, April 22, in all the 13 local government areas.
Ebonyi APC Chairman, Mr Eze Nwachukwu, who spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki, said the decision to boycott the election was irrevocable.
Nwachukwu said that the party would not hesitate to institute criminal action against any one that used the party’s name and logo for the election.
He said that the party had communicated the decision to the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC), the Police and other security agencies.
According to him, the decision to boycott the election is due to the improper constitution of the electoral commission and alleged non-compliance with due process in the amended Electoral Law 001.
“We wish to reiterate the position of our great party not to participate in the forthcoming Ebonyi Local Government Election slated for April 22.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we are not participating in the election, where the Chief Electoral Officer and other members of the commission are allegedly card carrying members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“We are not in the race and have not as a political party fielded any candidate for any position in the forthcoming polls.
“This decision is from the national secretariat of the party, which received the endorsement of party members in the state.
“We wish to make it clear to the voting public that APC is not taking part in the April 22 election.
“We have communicated our resolve to the State Electoral Commission, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Police and other security agencies,” Nwachukwu said.
Nwachukwu said that the party had instituted a legal action at the Federal High Court, Abakaliki, against the Ebony Government, challenging the appointments of chairman and members of the EBSIEC.
He said that the appointment of card carrying members of the PDP and directors of Chief Dave Umahi 2015 Divine Mandate Campaign Organisation into the commission violated Sections 197 (1) and 200 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution as amended.
In his reaction, EBSIEC Chairman, Jossy Eze, said that he would not join issues with the APC but would rather speak in the court.
“I can’t join issues with the APC on the issue of my membership of PDP and as director of the Divine Mandate Campaign Organisation.
“As the chairman of the EBSIEC, I am also speaking on behalf of the other members.
“Since the matter is before a Federal High Court, we are prepared to sort it out there.
“The assurance I am giving to Ebonyi people is that we are committed to conducting free, fair and credible elections come April 22, and all is set for the poll that is barely days away ,” Eze said.
But, Mr Victor Aleke, Ebonyi House of Assembly Committee Chairman on EBSIEC, denied allegations that the passage of amended state electoral law did not follow due process.
Aleke, representing the Mbeke /Ishieke State Constituency, told NAN that the bill passed through the normal legislative processes before it was assented to by the governor.
“The EBSIEC Law 001 as amended passed through all legislative processes, including public hearing before it was signed into law by the governor.
“The APC’s allegation that the passage of the law did not pass through the normal legislative channels is not only untenable but also laughable, ” Aleke said.