Onuigbo accuses APC of substituting his name

eea sam onuigbo
eea sam onuigbo

From Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change, Sam Onuigbo, has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC), of substituting his name with that of Emeka Atuma at the just concluded Abia Central Senatorial poll ahead of next year’s general elections.

Onuigbo, at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, claimed that Atuma did not even purchase the form for Abia Central Senatorial primary of APC.

“We were supposed to hold the primaries on May 28th, which was the date announced by APC national headquarters in the notice for the primary.

“But, due to some bottlenecks, the chairman of the panel from Abuja, Hon. Izu Okeke, consulted with all of us and resolved, let’s do this tomorrow, so as to overcome the bottlenecks.

“So, by the next day, we had the election and at the end of the day I won. I defeated my closest opponent, Chief Henry Ikoh, by 157 to 152 votes.

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“That was it. The Electoral Panel submitted their report signed by all five members to the office of the National Organising Secretary.

“They listed those of us who were returned or elected as candidates for the three senatorial zones, namely, Chief Sam Onuigbo for Abia Central, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Abia North and Blessing Nwagba Abia for Abia South.

“The office of the National Organising Secretary received the result and acknowledge it.”

Onuigbo disclosed that upon being invited to their office, he was given a copy of the report dated June 6, 2022, the report was received by one Sabiu Bello, whom he said is an Assistant Director, stressing that as “a confirmation of the fact that I was the candidate of the party, they issued me with Form EC9, which is from INEC, which is given to only successful candidates.”

He declared that only nine aspirants were cleared by the APC national headquarters as those who bought forms, completed the forms, returned the forms, invited for screening and were screened and cleared by the party to stand for Senatorial Primary Election in Abia State.

“Out of this nine, four of us came from Abia Central, these are myself, Chief Samuel Onuigbo, Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh, Senator Nkechi Justina Nwaogu and Chief Kelvin Chima Ugboaja.

“A few days to the election, Senator Nkechi Justina Nwaogu wrote and withdrew from the election, then Chief Kelvin Chima Ugboaja did not make it to the election. He was not seen because he didn’t come for the election,

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“So it was just Chief Henry Ikoh and myself that stood for the election and at the end of the day, I defeated Chief Henry Ikoh, by 157 to his 152 votes.”

Alarmed by the alleged submission of Atuma’s name to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Onuigbo, said “it is therefore so strange that someone who did not buy nomination forms for the Senate, never participated in the preliminary processes, will drop from the sky and had his name listed to substitute my own name. It is one of the strangest things I have ever seen.”

Citing sections 29 and 84(1)(13) of the Electoral Act, Onuigbo stressed that the law was explicit that parties must conduct primaries to be monitored by INEC, adding that, “It is therefore so strange to us that someone who did not buy nomination forms for the Senate, never participated in the preliminary processes- that is, completing your form, submitting, participating in screening and being cleared by the party- from nowhere had his name listed to substitute my own name. It is one of the strangest things I have ever seen.

“If you go to section 84(1), it also states that any political party seeking to nominate candidate to stand for election, such a party shall conduct primaries for the aspirants for any elective position and that such primary election shall be monitored by the commission, in this case, INEC.”

On claims by INEC that the constitution did not empower the commission to reject names uploaded by political parties, Onuigbo, who was part of the NASS Joint Technical Committee on the Electoral Act 2022, said the Ninth National Assembly introduced those checks “so that we do not again have a situation, where people engage in political gangsterism and then they come and hijack positions just like they are trying to do.”

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