By Chijindu Emeruwa, Abia.
Abia Rejoice Movement (ARM), the main political structure of the Standard bearer of the All Progressive Congress in Abia state, Dr Uche Sampson Ogah, has made clarifications on a fake news circulating round the state, orchestrated by fifth columnists, who are bent to misinform the general public on submission and release of list of names of candidates that emerged winners in the concluded gubernatorial primary elections held in Abia, and many other states of Nigeria federation by the leadership of the party.
On thursday 26th May, 2022, the All Progressive Congress (APC), had conduct direct governorship primaries across the 184 electoral wards of the 17 local government areas of the state.
Announcing the results after voting and collation exercise, the returning Officer of the concluded Abia APC gubernatorial primaries held in Umuahia, the state capital, Barrister Perfect Okorie, declared the immediate past Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, the winner of the direct primary election held in the state.
According to the returning officer, Ogah scored 141,952 votes to beat his closest rival, Paul Ikonne who scored 27,054.
Other gubernatorial aspirants includes, Chief Ikechi Emenike who polled 9,446, Emeka Atuma with 7,429, Obinna Oriaku with 5,553, Alex Otti scored 2,41, and Daniel Eke who got 1,953 at the keenly contested direct primaries.
Recall that the National Working Committee of the APC had approved direct mode of primary election for conduct of the exercise in Abia, Benue and Osun states.
This was contained in a letter signed by the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and sited by journalists in Abuja.
However, dismissing the false information around many quarters in Abia state, the Abia Rejoice Media Directorate, in a press release titled, “IMPORTANT PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT, read in full: Acknowledgement slip obtained from INEC portal residents with APC is not final
“Dear party faithful and good people of Abia State, as the INEC timetable stipulates, 15 July is slated for political parties to upload names of gubernatorial candidates into the INEC portal, after which, courts will take over.
“As you are aware, High Chief Ikechi Emenike, got a judgement order from Abia State High Court, mandating APC to forward his name and those of House of Assembly to INEC.
“Though not a true position of the law as regards pre-election matters where only Federal High Court has jurisdiction and not a State High Court, the party APC is bound to obey it until set aside on appeal and the appeal has been lodged.
“In the interim, the APC uploaded his name and those of House of Assembly into the INEC portal (respective portal passwords are given to each political party by INEC which makes such portal resident with a political party for a while.”
“By this, as soon as your name is uploaded thereat, acknowledgement slip is printed which bears your name and INEC’s name and logo.
“These acknowledgement slips are what some Abia APC aspirants are brandishing in the media, claiming their candidacy had been accepted by INEC. Not at all. INEC portal resident with APC acknowledged receipt of their names temporarily, subject to the final processes and Court judgements leading to final publication of names in October.
“It should be restated that the basis for uploading their names in the interim is the Court judgement obtained from Abia State High Court.
“Abia State High Court erred in law by assuming jurisdiction in a matter it lacks jurisdiction. And by law, any decision or judgement by a court without jurisdiction is a nullity.
“By the Electoral Act 2022, only the Federal High Court and no other court, has primary jurisdiction in pre-election matters.
“Court of competent jurisdiction will upturn that judgement and declares who are the Abia APC candidates whose names would be uploaded into the INEC portal instead.
“Should the Court of Appeal not determine the appeal against the judgment obtained from Abia State High Court before 15th July, 2022, there won’t be any cause for alarm.
“Final date for final submission of name is October 2022 (not 15 July).
“We should be guided appropriately. What some Abia APC aspirants are brandishing are mere acknowledgement slips obtained from INEC portal resident with the party, as a result of Court judgment gotten from a Court with no jurisdiction.
“The names of some candidates of Abia APC on the main INEC portal is different from what is being brandished in social media.
“The posers are: why did they approach a State High Court instead of a Federal High Court in a pre-election matter if they are sure they did the right mode of primaries? Why brandishing INEC portal’s acknowledgement slips as if those are final INEC submission acknowledgement? Why did they ask the judge at Abia State High Court (Umunneochi) to hide the judgement copy in order to delay compilation of records to the Court of Appeal? Why they resort to illegality to achieve the short-term goal of having their names uploaded before July 15 whereas October is still far when the right process will finally determine the right candidates for the APC in Abia?
“Our people, please don’t be fooled. The truth will unveil soonest. Victory will be ours in the end.
“October will determine final dates for final submission of candidates of political parties for 2023 General elections and not July 15th”.