ABUJA – Months after the primary election of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the party has remained unsettled following the demand by 450 aspirants that about N1billion collected from them should be refunded to them.
This is coming despite efforts by the party’s reconciliation committee to resolve protests by the aggrieved aspirants over the conduct and outcome of the exercise across the country.
In a similar development, the decamping of Chief Ifeanyi Ubah from the party, after loosing the Senatoral ticket along with his structure, has also deepened the cracks within the party.
According to a source in the party, most of his supporters in APGA are with him while those left behind are allegedly planted to rock the boat of APGA in the coming election.
Speaking to reporters in Awka after a meeting of APGA AGGRIEVED ASPIRANTS FORUM recently, one of the spokesmen, Hon Owelle Mbanaso said: “What kind of recommendation are we talking about here when people were ripped off huge sums of money in the name of party nomination? They should first compile a list of the aggrieved aspirants and refund then their money to the tune of over N1billion.
“This daylight fraud happened under the nose of the National Working Committee of the party as well as the National Executive Committee of the party and nobody called them to order.”
Humphrey Nsofor, who contested the Nnewi North, Ekwusigo, Nnewi South Federal Constituency ticket along with Mbanaso and narrowly escaped the bullets of suspected thugs recalled: “Members and aspirants of the party were beaten up, harassed and intimidated by thugs belonging to the preferred candidates for the party and materials for the election were not seen.”
Godwin Ezenagu, who was allegedly shortchanged during the primary election of Awka Federal Constituency and now candidate of the Social Democratic Party SDP lamented: “On that day, we did not know the venue for the primary election. In fact, the party officials could not tell us the venue. So why are we now talking of reconciliation? The party is nosediving and we pity those who say they are candidates of the party.”
Widow of Late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Amb Bianca, is still challenging the outcome of the primary election that produced Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu as candidate for Anambra South Senatoral District. Bianca called for the resignation of the National Chairman, Chief Victor Oye, accusing him of manipulating the electoral process and is fast creating a new faction similar to that of Imo State.
She also accused the governor of the state, Chief Wille Obiano, of not playing the fatherly role expected of him during the primary election.
Apparently, one of the sure hopes of APGA in the coming election, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Senatoral candidate for Anambra South, is hanging by a thread, following the Federal High Court Abuja ruling that the primary election was faulty.
One of the aspirants, Mr Chike Chidolue, had gone to court praying it to nullify the election, which was granted.
But the Director General of Ukachukwu Campaign Organisation, Mr. Dozie Akunne, dismissed the ruling contending that the process was full of irregularities.
He said: “We know that there are some people who are not ready to go for election and they’re using a man who had one vote in election to stop our candidate. “The presiding judge was in a hurry to grant them their prayers.
We are at the Appeal Court challenging it and we are confident that the higher court will give us justice.”
National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA, Chief Victor Oye, described the submissions of the aggrieved aspirants as uncalled for, adding that monies spent by them was donated without any act of pressure.
Oye said: “Yes I take all the blame for what ever that may have happened during the party primary elections but no body was forced to donate money to the party.
“We have a reconciliation Committee and we urge them to direct their protest to them.” Oye also dismissed allegations from Bianca insisting that being a widow to the late Party leader Ojukwu does not mean giving ticket to her.
“She was present at the venue of the primary election and she saw all that happened. The party cannot hand over the candidacy of the party to you just because you are the widow of our leader. You have to subject your self to the electoral process,” Oye said.