MEMBERS of the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday paralysed activities at the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission over the alleged exclusion of their candidates in the local government council election scheduled for Wednesday.
The members, who carried placards with various inscriptions marched through Okpara Square to the ENSIEC headquarters at Independence Layout, chanted songs and obstructed traffic.
Some of the placards carried by the protesters read: ‘We say no to political disenfranchisement,’ ‘Our vote is our power,’ ‘Say no to election exclusion,’ ‘ENSIEC is not for a particular political party,’ among others.
Addressing journalists, the leader of the protesters and Secretary of APC in the state, Mr Robert Ngwu, said the rally was meant to express their rejection of their exclusion from the election.
Ngwu said, “We are here to tell the people of Enugu State that what is going on in ENSIEC is not good. We will go all the way to the Supreme Court because this election tomorrow (Wednesday) will be voided. After all, you cannot exclude the candidates of APC and that is against the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 amended, and also against the electoral act to exclude a political party.
“We have made our position known to them both in writing and also through the media and ENSIEC still insists on the election going on. We can’t do anything but show our grievances to let the state know that what is going on is not right.
“This is a new APC and we’re here to compete with the ruling party in Enugu State. The list is supposed to be submitted by the chairman and secretary. But what happened is that the ENSIEC chose the APC list by themselves. They chose the list, not us. The candidates in the list they published are not our members.
“We have professors running for councillors in APC. We have a retired DSS Director running for the chairmanship in Isi-Uzo local government. So, how could those people not qualify? They didn’t show us the list in the first place even though we submitted their names and that’s what is going on.”
Chairman of ENSIEC, Chief Mike Ajokwu (SAN) who addressed the protesters explained that the reason for publishing the list of candidates submitted by the Ben Nwoye faction of the APC was because the commission has been relating with him over the years.
According to him, APC has two factions and the commission wrote to the national secretariat of APC without a reply, a development that forced it to accept Nwoye’s list
But as he was talking, the protesters shouted at him and he walked out on them.