By Leonard Okachie
Umuahia, May 26, 2023 At least four governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia have protested against the primary election held in the state on Thursday.
The aspirants included U.S.-based chartered accountant, Chief Daniel Eke, and the former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Chief Uche Ogah.
The others are the Executive Secretary, Managing Director, National Agricultural Land Development Authority, Mr Paul Ikonne, and former Abia Commissioner of Finance, Mr Obinna Oriaku.
Addressing newsmen in Umuahia on the development, Eke said he was not satisfied with the way the election was conducted in the state.
He said that he was kept in the dark with regards to the modalities, venue, time and other relevant information concerning the exercise.
He said that all his efforts to get the right information from the national headquarters of the party were unsuccessful.
He expressed regrets that he could be so treated after spending a fortune to pick the party ticket.
He said that he had so far spent over N300 million, including N50 million for the purchase of forms, consultaions and building his political structure.
He described as “a sham and act of illegality”, the reported congress that produced Chief Ikechi Emenike as the governorship candidate of the party.
Eke said that direct mode of primary would provide the platform for the aspirants to test their popularity.
He also said that the process would alao lead to the emergence of the best and most popular candidate that would be able to defeat the incumbent PDP-led government.
He said: “We have election today, but I don’t have information on the time, venue and modalities.
“I don’t know if it is direct or indirect.
“I believe it is illegal for an aspirant not to be informed about what is going on.
“I have been calling the national Secretariat of our great party for the past three days but nobody is responding.
“On Wednesday night, I sent a text message to the National Organising Secretary, yet he has not responded up to this moment.”
Eke argued that the national secretariat of the party ought to issue a statement to clarify issues regarding the conduct of the election.
He feared that the ugly development would drastically affect the party’s electoral fortunes in the state in 2023, if not properly addressed.
He said that he was “not aware of any harmonisation or allocation of elective positions within the Abia chapter of our cherished party”.
Eke contended that any consensus that was adopted without recourse and written consent of all the aspirants would run foul of Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022.
Meanwhile, a congress organised by the Kingley Ononogbu-led executive of the party held an indirect primary election that elected Emenike.
However, Ogah, Ikonne and Oriaku told newsmen that the national secretariat directed the adoption of direct primary to elect its governorship candidate in Abia.
The aspirants rejected the outcome of the exercise, saying that it was unacceptable to them.
“We aré all prepared to test our popularity through a direct primary for all the card-carrying members of our party,” they said.
They also said that they would exhaust all legimate means to adequately redress the anomally in the interest of the party.
Reacting to the development, Ononogbu said the election was conducted in line with the directive of the National Executive Council of the party for indirecta primary in the state.
He described the exercise as free, fair, credible and rrancour-free.