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ABIA 2023: Let the court decide authentic APGA gubernatorial candidate, says Chikwe Udensi

Udensi: ‘Thugs were allowed to take over the entire process

Sir Chikwe Udensi,  governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia state, says he has approached a Federal High Court to determine the rightful governorship candidate of the party in the state

Udensi said this in an interview with SummitNews in Arochukwu on Monday. 

He said: “We have approached the court to determine who the right person is, instead of leaving it in the hands of the party. 

We want the court to determine within the 14-day window, who took the right steps in producing a candidate.”

He spoke against the backdrop of the parallel APGA gubernatorial primary election of May 29, which produced himself and Prof. Greg Ibem,  as candidates.

Recall that NAN reports that Udensi and three other aspirants, including Ibe, Etigwe Uwa (SAN), and Gen. Ijioma Ijioma (rtd.), were all present at Kolping Society, Umuahia for the gubernatorial primary election.

Udensi, however, abandoned the process shortly after taking his turn to address the delegates.

He was later reported in some media platforms to have emerged the party’s candidate from an election that allegedly took place at a hotel in Umuahia. 

Udensi told SummitNews that he abandoned Kolping Society because he discovered that the delegates’ list was not the authentic one for the exercise.

He also alleged that “thugs, ne’er-do- well and social miscreants were allowed to take over the exercise.

“Besides, the Electoral Panel from Abuja had directed that after accreditation at Kolpin, voting would be done at the hotel.

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That was how my group and I went to the hotel and the voting was done and I won,” he said.

Udensi said that he had taken his matter to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

“My position is that if the NWC rejects their result, it should accept mine,” he said.

The governorship hopeful said that he was confident that the court would decide the case in his favour.

Udensi, who is a founding member of the party, however, said that he would not leave APGA, notwithstanding the outcome of his suit.

He said that he began to have issues shortly after some governorship aspirants joined the party.

 “The week they came in, they started with the rumour that I’m no longer in APGA, that I have joined the Young Peoples Party. From day one, they didn’t mean well for the party, they had their various agenda.   If they wanted to do primaries in the party, we have our processes, which they should follow. 

“Instead, they brought thugs, ne’er-do-well and social misfits everywhere, who were brandishing dangerous weapons.

Our own group had our regular primaries, using the ward chairmen and 17 returning officers from the local governments. 

Now we had two parallel primaries but the question is which one is the legitimate one?

“We left them because the delegates list they were using was unknown to us. I have no doubts that there is a conspiracy in our party, borne out of greed and selfishnes.”

Udensi alleged that the party leadership also gave him an outrageous condition, which included monthly remittance of N2.2 billion to the party.

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The other condition, he said, was that the party would chose his deputy and Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General.

He said that he found the three conditions outrageous, unrealistic and unacceptable to him. 

According to him, “this is why I have been calling for electoral reform that should start with the political parties to ensure that those who run the parties are decent people with decent means of livelihood. They must be people without past criminal records. The people that will influence the emergence of candidates must be decent themselves,” he said. 

Udensi also spoke on his intervention in the payment of pensions to Abia retirees.

He said that the gesture had nothing to do with his political ambition, but borne out of his concern for the pensioners, who were owed pensions for more than three years.

He said that his attention was drawn to their plight by a caller, when he (Udensi) appeared on a phone-in radio programme, adding that he has concluded the first phase and that the second phase would commence soon.

According to him, the initiative has come to stay, and would be expanded to include the non-pensioned elderly persons.

He described himself as the “most prepared governorship aspirant across all the political parties, saying that the

 state and its people had been impoverished by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state since the return of democratic governance in 1999. 

He further expressed regrets that Abia had remained the most underdeveloped state in the South-East, in spite of its abundant human and material resources.

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The APGA gubernatorial hopeful promised to reverse the trend, if elected, saying that he had the administrative capacity to address basic infrastructural needs of the state.

He also promised that his administration would focus on education, social welfare, through a charity commission, healthcare and security.

“We shall create the enabling environment for the private sector to drive the economy,” Udensi said. 

In a reaction, the state APGA Chairman, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, dismissed Udensi’s allegations as “unreasonable,” saying that it cannot be “substantiated”.

Ehiemere said: “He cannot claim to be the party’s governorship candidate because he lost, The APGA Governorship Candidate is Prof. Greg Ibe. He emerged from a duly organised delegates primary election. The process was transparent, credible, free and fair and conducted by a three-member Primary Election Panel from Abuja.”

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