APRIL POLLS: TENSION IN AWKA OVER PDP CANDIDATES' LIST
An alleged fraudulent change of the name of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Awka North and South Federal Constituency at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters, Abuja is now causing tension in the constituency.
Already, members of the constituency in the party were threatening fire and brimstone should the name of the authentic winner of the primaries which INEC monitored and certified was not reflected in the party's candidates' list.
Daily Sun gathered that after the primaries, Chief Ifeanyi Nwokoye won but the party in the list signed by Chief Benji Udeozor as state chairman and submitted to INEC, Awka and Abuja offices wrote the name of Osita Egwuatu as the candidate.
This necessitated a legal action by Okoye and on February 1 the Federal High Court, Awka presided over by Justice Peter Olayiwola granted him an order of injunction restraining the PDP, Udeozor and Mr. Chuks Okoye from submitting or forwarding the name of Egwuatu or any other person other than Nwokoye as PDP's candidate for the federal constituency.
The court also restrained INEC and its agents and servants from accepting the name of Egwuatu or any other person other than Nwokoye from PDP, Udeozor and Okoye as PDP's candidate for Awka North/South Federal Constituency in the 2011 general elections, pending the determination of the motion on notice, among other orders.
Before the order, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu had in response to Udeozor's letter and accompanying list of 'successful aspirants', said: 'The commission has observed that some of the names contained on the list do not reflect the true names of the actual successful aspirants in the primaries. Please find attached and marked Annexure A, the commission's panel report on the submitted list for your information, guidance and record purposes.'
In the report of the primaries as reported by INEC panel, the panel had said of Awka North/South: 'The party presented the name of Osy Egwuatu while it was gathered from the field reports that one Ifeanyi Nwokoye won the House of Representatives primary election in Awka North and South Federal Constituency. Hence, the name of Ifeanyi Nwokoye ought to be submitted by the party.'
The REC also in response to Nwokoye's lawyer, Chief O. B. Onyali (SAN) protest over subversion of result of primary for Awka North/South Federal Constituency said: 'I wish to inform you that after necessary consideration of the reports submitted by our field officers, it was revealed that your client, Ifeanyi Nwokoye won the primary election in Awka North/South Federal Constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
'Further, the party leadership in the state has been informed of the commission's findings to this effect.'
However, the matter became worse when the same list sent to INEC Abuja was allegedly altered had a new name in the person of Anayo Nnebe, the speaker of the state House of Assembly was written as candidate for the constituency.
The people of the area were threatening to be unruly if the INEC refuse to correct itself and ensure that Nwokoye who actually won the primary was listed as the candidate.