Several members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu state on Tuesday beseiged the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) located at Independence Layout area of the city to protest the alleged exclusion of the party in today’s local government election in the state.
The APC members, who defied the heavy presence of security operatives, blocked the roads leading to the office of the electoral management body, thereby forcing a diversion of vehicular movement from the road leading to ENSIEC office.
The roads leading to ENSIEC office were guarded by gun wielding policemen and soldiers while about eight Hilux vans were stationed before and after the office.
The protesters carried placards with several inscriptions such as: “We say no to political disenfranchisement. Our vote is our power”, “Say no to election exclusion”, “ENSIEC is not for a particular political party”, “Free and fair election is joy of democracy”, “PDP and ENSIEC are killers of democracy”, among others.
They demanded the postponement of the election and the listing of the APC candidates on the ballots.
Addressing journalists during the protest, the secretary of the party in Enugu State, Robert Ngwu, said the essence of the protest was to get the ENSIEC to postpone the exercise and act in accordance with the electoral act and the ENSIEC act which state that no party should be excluded in the electoral exercise.
He noted that all the APC candidates whose names were submitted by the state chairman, Ugochukwu Agballah, were excluded from the list of the candidates published by ENSIEC.
He said, “There is a deliberate plot by ENSIEC to disenfranchise the APC faithful. They claim they’re conducting a democratic election but refused to publish a list of 260 councillorship and 17 chairmanship candidates we forwarded to the ENSIEC in December 2021.
“So, we’re here to tell them to do the right thing. If they go ahead to conduct the election tommorow and exclude APC from participating in the exercise, we would make sure we void the election through the courts.
“We can’t do anything but to show our grievances to let the state know that what is going on is not right.
“This is a new APC and we’re here to compete with the ruling party in Enugu State.
“The list is supposed to be submitted by the chairman and secretary. But what happened is that the ENSIEC chose APC list by themselves. They chose the list not us. The candidates in the list they published are not our members.
“We have professors running for councillors in APC. We have retired DSS Director running for chairmanship in Isi-Uzo local government. So, how could those people not qualify. They didn’t show is the list in the first place even though we submitted their names and that’s what is going on”.
Chairman of ENSIEC, Mike Ajogwu (SAN) who addressed the protesters explained that the reason for publishing the faction of Chief Ben Nwoye’s list was because he was the one the commission was relating with from the beginning.
According to him, APC has two factions and the commission wrote to the national secretariat of APC without a reply, a development that forced it to accept Nwoye’s list.
But as Ajogwu was talking, the protesters shouted at him down, forcing him to walk out on them.