By Chijindu Emeruwa, Abia.
A Civil Society for Accountability and Transparency in Governance (CSATG), has admonished the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) on rule of law.
The admonition comes in the background of the recent court order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from receiving the name of Hon Emeka Atuma as the Senatorial candidate of the APC for the Abia Central Senatorial district seat in the forthcoming 2023 general election in Abia State.
Recall, Justice Shittu Abubakar-led Federal High Court in Katsina State had issued a restraining order on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from receiving from the All Progressive Congress, APC, the names, details, and documents as Senatorial Candidate of the party for the Abia central district seat of Abia state in the main elections slated in 2023.
This followed the lawsuit by a member of the House of Representatives representing Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency, Hon Sam Onuigbo, who fully participated during the concluded national assembly primary election conducted between 28th and 29 May 2022 in Abia central Senatorial zone.
Onuigbo had after the recently- concluded senatorial primaries held in Abia central district, decried the substitution of his name with Emeka Atuma, who was a governorship aspirant under the platform of the APC and was defeated by Chief Ikechi Emenike, who
clinched the gubernatorial
seat ticket of the party at the concluded exercise.
Onuigbo who polled the highest number of votes from the party delegates to defeat co contestants wondered how Atuma who never purchased nomination forms nor participated during the APC Senatorial primary election held in Abia central district, was used to substitute him, and also described such an unwholesome practice by the party leadership, as a negation of democratic principle.
However, the Civil Society Organization, in a statement on Tuesday, on the heels of the ongoing trial of the case, criticized the APC leadership for the purported and underserved recognizance of Emeka Atuma as APC senatorial standard-bearer in social and political functions and described the party’s action as a slap on the nation’s constitutionalism and violation of the order of a court of competent jurisdictions in the land.
The statement by the CSO was jointly signed by the Executive Director, Comrade Aremo Olusegun, and Director of Press, Comrade Julius Obasi, and made available to journalists in Umuahia, on Tuesday.
The Organization regretted that the leadership of the All Progressive Congress descended too low to allow and abet such illegality of this magnitude to stand despite being aware of the court order restraining the electoral commission from recognizing Mr. Emeka Atuma as APC senatorial candidate for Abia central senatorial zone in the coming elections.
The CSO insisted that the party’s wrongdoings have also vindicated the notion in many quarters that the governing party is no respecter of the laws of the land and further added that the unholy action had equally sent a wrong signal to the world that it’s a political party without basic democratic principles and ideologies hence the need for the APC leadership to withdraw the name of Mr. Emeka Atuma which it submitted to INEC for the general election in 2023, and include the name of the substantive winner of the conducted senatorial primaries held in Abia central Senatorial district, Hon Sam Onuigbo, to deepen rule of law and the current democratic process in the country.
According to the organization, “we frown on the unmerited recognition of Emeka Atuma as incoming senator for Abia Central Senatorial district in public functions. Because his purported candidacy is not enjoying legal backing or recognized by the law.
“It is unacceptable, unjust and a slap on the nation’s constitutionalism, for someone who participated during the concluded senatorial primaries, and won resoundingly would be substituted with another person who never purchased expression of Interest and nomination forms, who never faced the APC screening committee, and without clearance certificate issued to him, nor participated in the concluded exercise., It is unlawful and negated the democratic principle.
“Being aware of the order of a high court stopping INEC from receiving the name of Emeka Atuma, the APC leadership went ahead to violate and disobey a court order and continue to recognize Emeka Atuma as an incoming senator. This particular unwholesome act of APC is the worst illegalities ever seen in a democratic clime or society.
The CSO however, urged INEC to resist the forceful attempt by disgruntled political elements in the APC fold to impose Atumah’s name and also truncate the rules of law on the altar of mere harmonization” which is not known by the APC constitution, reiterating that the party leadership should save itself from the imminent failure that is about to befall her in the forthcoming 2023 general election, by including the name of Hon Sam Onuigbo in the published lists of names of candidates that emerged successfully from the recent primary elections held across the three Senatorial districts of Abia state”.