From PETER OKORE, Umuahia
A governorship candidate in the just-concluded primary election of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Abia state, Chief Chikwe Udensi, has said that he has approached a Federal High Court to determine who is actually qualified to fly the party’s governorship flag for Abia in the forthcoming general elections next year.
This is also as the chairman of Abia chapter of the party, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere is saying that the party is yet to receive any formal petition from Chief Udensi or court summon from the suit allegedly instituted by him or any other person, maintaining that as far as the party in Abia is concerned, the primary was free, transparent and credible.
Both spoke during interactive sessions with newsmen at different fora, in Umuahia in reaction to the parallel party primary held by the party on 29th June 2022, at both Kolpin Society Conference Centre and Villa Roy hotel respectively, all in Umuahia.
Udensi, who is also a security expert, had accused the state Working committee of manipulating the process of the primary election which produced the Chancellor of Gregory University, Uturu, Prof. Gregory Ibe as winner, alleging that the organizers used false delegates.
According to Udensi, “I want the court to determine the authentic governorship candidate of the party in the state within the 14 days window allowed by law to seek redress before campaign starts
He revealed that when he noticed that some members of the State working Committee of the party had compromised and were no longer ready to abide by the rules for the primary election, he left the accreditation venue for the venue where he held his own primary election, where he was also declared winner.
According to him: “We left them because the delegates -list they were using was unknown to us. I’m a foundation member of APGA and we can’t leave the house we have built for people who came on selfish political voyage”.
In his words:”If they wanted to do primary election in the party, we have our process which they should have followed. But instead, they brought thugs and never- do- wells and social misfits to act as delegates to the extent that they have to hijacked the members of the three-man panel, sent from Abuja from their hotel rooms to a private setting for them to sign the Congress document.
“There is need for party leadership to be handled by people with pedigree and sustainable means of livelihood to help reduce the level of desperation for financial benefits among party leaders during electioneering.
“I have no doubts that there is conspiracy in our party. This conspiracy is borne out of greed and selfishness. That is why I have been hammering that electoral reforms should start with the political parties to ensure that those who will run the political parties must be descent people with decent means of livelihood; people without past criminal records.
“But what do we have today? We have hoodlums handling the political parties, starting from the wards to the state level. The people that will influence the emergence of candidates must be descent themselves.
“Today anybody can be the ward chairman, Local Government chairman of the party because they are no standards on who becomes what?
“If we do not put in- place a standard that will bring in decent people to run the party, they will also produce poor candidates”.
Udensi expressed regrets that Abia had remained the most underdeveloped state in the South-East, in spite of its abundant human and material resources. I want to rescue Abia state.
“My position is that if the NWC rejects their result, it should accept mine”.
Speaking in Umuahia, Thursday, APGA chairman in Abia state, Augustine Ehiemere said that there is no basis for any aspirant to go to court because the process adopted for the primary which produced Prof. Ibe, was evidently transparent .
The party-boss, therefore, called on Udensi and other aggrieved aspirants to join the party leadership and governorship candidate, “so that we can together win the general elections and liberate Abia state from many years bondage.
For many years of PDP-led government in Abia state, no Roads, infrastructures, Workers are not paid regularly, Pensioners are owed pensions for many years, while Gratuity stopped since 2000 in Abia state .
He specifically appealed to aspirants who lost in the primary election not to abandon the party in protest.