Crisis looms over candidates’ disqualification for Enugu council polls
A fresh crisis may have erupted in Enugu State ahead of the November 4 local council elections, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday accused Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of reneging on his promise to provide a level playing ground for all political parties.
The party alleged that the governor had instigated the State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) to disqualify popular candidates and, therefore, called for the resignation of the chairman of the electoral body, Chief Mike Ajogwu, for “caving in to the pressure of the state government” to undo the party.
It also accused Ajogwu of being a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The party state chairman, Ben Nwoye, alleged that candidates in the party’s strongholds were mostly affected. He named them as Uzoigwe Oleh and Hilary Okoye, chairmanship candidates for Aninri and Enugu South council areas.
He maintained that the agency had no power to disqualify any candidate once presented by a party, wondering why the disqualification should be “selective as no candidate of the PDP in the 17 council areas and 260 electoral wards was affected.”
But in a swift response, the state government said it had no hand in the disqualification of the APC candidates, reiterating its commitment for a free and fair election.
The Commissioner for Information, Chief Ogbuagu Anikwe told The Guardian that the candidates were disqualified for their inability to present tax clearance certificates, a major requirement to contest for political offices.
“It is typical of APC to say things that please them. They presented defective candidates and want them to run elections,” he stated.
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