Tuesday, 16 May 2017

UPP, PDP, other political parties declare war on new IPAC Chairman

By Okechukwu Onuegbu 
Image result for pictures of Emeakayi, Chekwas Okorie
Some political parties Chairmen in Anambra State have faulted the recently held State Chairmanship election of Interparty Advisory Committee (IPAC), won by Prince Bartho Igwedibia of Accord Party, and threatened to opt out the umbrella body for all the registered political parties over alleged irregularities and monetary inducement during the poll.

IPAC national officers led by its Director General (DG), Dr Abdul Ahmed Isiaq had on May 13, 2017 conducted an election at Awka, Anambra state Headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to replace Sir Norbert Obi, APGA State Chairman, who was elected last October to pilot affairs of IPAC for one year but was impeached barely three months in office.

Although it was alleged that the disgruntled IPAC members pulled out of the election for not benefitting from the sum of N200, 000 Governor Willie Obiano allegedly shared to each of the party Chairman to vote for Igwedibia, they however, asserted that they boycotted the poll to avoid running into contempt of court.

Among the opposition political parties are the United Peoples Party (UPP), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Young Democratic Party (YDP), African Peoples Alliance (APA), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), United National Party for Development (UNPD), Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Citizen Popular Party (CPP), and Action Alliance (AA).

News48hrs.com learnt that the Anambra State factional Chairman of PDP, Ken Emeakayi has a pending court suit to that effect, but IPAC fixed it to address the petition earlier filed by the State UPP Chairman, Dr Sylvester Igwilo, an IPAC Chairmanship nominee unlawfully disqualified while the election was held on October 2016.  

Igwilo was disqualified from participating in the chairmanship election by the electoral committee following an observation made by Prince Emeakayi of PDP that his nomination was not seconded.

As a result, he petitioned IPAC and court, however, during a rescheduled election last Friday, the body insisted that it would mainly conduct election for the office of State Chairman while other positions remained unchanged.

Reacting, the UPP State Chairman publicly withdrew from the race after his unsuccessful request for the entire executive members to be dissolved having be disfranchised from casting vote for them last year.

The offices Igwilo demanded for their sack are those of the Deputy Chairman headed by Mrs Oby Okafor of the ACD; Secretary General, Barr. Emeka Ibe (APC); Comrade Mathias Ameke (PPA), Financial Secretary; Dr. Dim Patrick (DPC), Treasurer; Hon. Moses Afum (AA), Deputy Secretary; and Hon. Peter Okala of the NCP, state Publicity Secretary.

However, prior to his public withdrawal and walkout from the election venue, Ken Emeakayi of PDP angrily stormed out of the place.

The IPAC electoral officers, who pleaded with him in vain to accept their position having been the factor behind the rescheduled election, provided voting materials and representatives of thirty political parties willing to participate in the process, casted their votes for Igwedibia unopposed.

Igwedibia pulled 29 votes against the 30 total votes casted, and one invalid.

Speaking in an interview, Dr. Sylvester Igwilo posited that the election was nullity and void, even as he argued that he can only recognise the new leadership after hearing from court.

‘’I can’t participate in illegality. They should have dissolve the entire executive and conduct fresh election if indeed they are willing to respond to my petition. How can I lead an exco I never participated in voting for? What of my supporters who were equally disfranchised? They should better allow the Deputy Chairman to continue Acting till October when their tenure would elapse rather than going against the IPAC codes of conduct” he added.
Also speaking, the Anambra State Publicity Secretary of YDP, Barr. Henryking Onyedikachukwu Adibe, who represented his party Chairman on the occasion, maintained that his party did not  vote although he was present to witness the whole drama.

Adibe, however, attributed his reason for not casting his vote to PDP's pending court case, even as he noted that the party would take appropriate action on the matter later.

But the Anambra State Chairman, Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), Citizen Chris Okafor, retorted, “We decided not to participate on illegality because of the PDP's pending court case on the issue. Again, this amounts to violation of IPAC’s code of conduct which provides that a Deputy should takeover from the Chairman on event of impeachment, incapacitation or resignation. Besides, if election is to be conducted it should have been for the whole executives not the other way round. How can you elect Chairman to pilot an affairs of executive whose tenure shall end on October? If I am the new chairman, I will go to court to seek tenure interpretation because his tenure starts from this May to May next year instead of October 2016 to October 2017”.

However, the new IPAC State Chairman, Prince Bartho Igwedibia, while promising to run an open door policy, noted that his administration would maintain a cordial relationship with both governor Obiano and ruling APGA government.

Igwedibia also dismissed the allegations that the state government sponsored his election through monetary inducement of voters and IPAC officers, and accused Igwilo of UPP of withdrawing from the poll due to fear of losing.
“If there is anything like sponsorship, it is Igwilo that was sponsored by the National Chairman and founder of his party, Chekwas Okolie to destabilize Anambra. However, IPAC cannot accept that. That is why he withdrew because he knew we will not vote him” he said.



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