From Felix Ikem, Nsukka
A youth group under the aegis of ‘Save Enugu Youths Initiative,’ Uzo Uwani Local Government chapter, has cautioned the member representing Igbo-Etiti/Uzo-Uwani federal constituency in the National Assembly Hon. Martins Okeh, to, as a matter of decency, stop parading himself as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the party’s last Sunday primary election.
The group was reacting to the massive protest and disruption of the scheduled election, at Ogbede, the headquarters of Igbo-Etiti LG council by the angry youths from the constituency who felt shortchanged, following the appearance of an Igboetiti candidate (Martins Okeh) at the venue of the exercise, having cited that the host LG has spent 20 years on the seat, without allowing an Uzo Uwani man to take a short.
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The youth body which described the botched election as a threat to democracy, noted that ‘it has become imperative to intimate the general public that Igbo-Etiti has hijacked the position for 20 years and still wishes to continue to dominate Uzo Uwani LGA; an action it noted was unmasked and sparked public demonstration, which disrupted the process.
A statement by the Publicity Secretary of the group, Uche Oragwu, explained that on sighting and decoding the plot to foist an Igbo-Etiti man on the position, the youths of both LGAs started violent demonstration which led to delegates, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) monitoring team and electoral offices scamper for safety.
He called on “the PDP leadership to disregard any results submitted to it by anybody, suggesting that Hon Martins Okeh won a primary election that never took place.”
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Oragwu further warned that any attempt to recognize that botched election as successful would be met with actions as the youth body and other youth groups in the LGA are already preparing for a showdown to press home their demand.
“Yesterday was a great opportunity for our people to write the wrongs of many years but that opportunity was parried as the election never held.
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“Many of us were on ground, and on sighting the plot to foist Martins on Uzo Uwani again, after his LGA had spent 20 years on the sit, a heavy protest started and the election process was truncated as officials scampered for their safety.
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“So we were surprised to hear that a kangaroo result was written and taken to the party leadership. Let us warn that any plan to play on our intelligence would be challenged by joint youth organizations in our LGA.
“We can no longer take this because our demand is in the interest of peace, justice, equity and fairness,” he said.
However, when contacted Hon Okeh said that he won the PDP primary election for Igbo-Etiti/Uzo-Uwani Federal Constituency under the supervision of the INEC monitoring team and PDP electoral officials.
He stated that some of his opponents mobilised hoodlum and attempted to destruct the process when they noticed that he was already leading them with a high margin during the vote count.
“The election was held after the accreditation of the delegates under the conduct and supervision of the PDP electoral committee and INEC monitoring team.
“Everything was going on well until the counting of votes when some of my opponents realise that I’m already leading them by the number of the votes counted, they went and immobilise hoodlums who came and attempted to cause confusion,” he said.
Okeh who is seeking to represent the constituency for the third time, however, urged those against his victory at the primary to go to the party’s appeal panel and lodge their grievances.