The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Enugu state, in the March 11 gubernatorial election, says he has not stepped down for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Barrister Peter Mbah, adding that he is in the governorship race to win it for the good of the people of Enugu state.
“Yesterday, an attention seeking propaganda mill reported that I stepped down for the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Peter Mbah.
“Please, tell everyone you know, that Frank Nweke Jr is in this governorship race to win it for the good of Enugu.
“I have never considered stepping down, and I will never consider it. Ignore every information that reports or insinuates this, Mr. Nweke, a former minister of information, said while addressing journalists in Enugu today.
This is just as the APGA governorship candidate accused the ruling PDP in the state of hatching plans to rig the forthcoming March 11 election through the use of thugs, and inducement of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials with money.
He decried the upsurge of fake news, misinformation and the misrepresention of his character in the media ahead next week Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly elections.
He said: “As I shared in my statement yesterday, I believe that calumny, fake news and character assassinations are disrespectful to our people who face real and dire challenges in their everyday lives.
“Those who spread such falsehood have no interest in service but desire to keep Enugu in a web of lies and ineptitude. Therefore, I will address these issues summarily.”
He dismissed as baseless his purported endorsement and congratulatory message to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who was on Wednesday declared by INEC as winner of the presidential poll held on March 25.
“I can confirm that it is absolutely false and concocted from the imagination of a mischievous individual. I have never hidden the fact that I support Peter Obi, and as I have often said, I am Frankly Obidient. My position on who I believe is most competent to lead our nation has not changed, he said.
Approval of ranching for herdsmen
According to Mr. Nweke, “on the assertion that I would approve ranching for herdsmen when elected as the Governor, please note that this headline is a sensational misrepresentation of these actual words from a town hall session I attended in October, 2022.
“The best case scenario is for there to be peaceful coexistence (that is, between farmers and herdsmen). But under my watch as governor and under my administration, I will not condone any act by herders or farmers that would undermine the other party. As your animal is important to you, so are the crops to farmers.
“Long term, we are going to encourage the establishment of ranches within the State but I will do everything within my powers to protect our people, to make sure that their sources of livelihood are not destroyed by anybody by whatever they are called”
“The reporter, for whatever consideration, played on the sensitivity of the ongoing crisis in several parts of Enugu by creating a click-bait headline to rile emotions, and now, political opposition are taking advantage of the same by promoting false information.
“It is absolutely wrong, and while it may be hailed as political sagacity, it is a clear picture of the type of administration to expect from whoever the perpetrators are.
Okey Ezea’s comments.
“Next, I would like to address the trending video that shows the recently elected Senator Okey Ezea, inciting the people of Enugu North against their brothers and sisters from Nkanu.
“While there are several issues that could be considered from his submissions, the most important thing for me is that I do not support or encourage anyone sowing seeds of discord and disunity within our State, and I wish he didn’t make such statements.
“As opinion leaders, political leaders or statesmen, we must be mindful of the opinions we hold and the words we speak.
“Regardless of where the governor emerges from at any time, we must remember that the entire State is his or her constituency. Such statements only serve to create feelings of marginalisation and discontent, neither of which serves our progress in any form.”
“The PDP’s plan to disrupt the State’s General Election of March 11, 2023 elections.
The former information minister accused the PDP of plans to disrupt the forthcoming poll, intimidate voters, and rig the election in favour it its governorship candidate.
“Finally, and the most important reason for this gathering, I want to address:
“THE PLANS BY THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO COMPROMISE INEC OFFICIALS, BY-PASS BVAS AND DISRUPT ELECTIONS ON MARCH 11, 2023 THROUGH VIOLENCE.
“I am compelled to bring to the attention of the public the grand and devious plans of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State to compromise INEC officials and adhoc staff to bypass the use of BVAS, and generally disrupt the governorship and house of assembly elections in the state through the use of thugs to cause mayhem, with a view to dispersing voters at polling units in order to have opportunity to rig the elections, subvert the will of the people to achieve victory at all costs.
“Since suffering massive losses across the state on February 25, 2023, the PDP have held series of meetings at various locations to perfect their nefarious plans to ensure that they disrupt the electoral process, compromise INEC staff and deploy maximum violence.
“A source that attended the meetings reported that they lamented that they were falsely led into believing that BVAS was impregnable by INEC and that manual voting was impossible.
“According to them events in Port Harcourt and some parts of the country had demonstrated otherwise; and that they must now take advantage of it by deploying sums of money to compromise INEC staff, buy votes and cause maximum violence to scare voters who do not vote for them and intimidate others into voting for them against their will.
“They have therefore resolved to ‘buy’ INEC staff to sabotage the elections as described above, and also to specifically ensure that the original result sheets are neither brought to the polling units, nor the ward and local government collation centres.
“Since the iREV malfunctioned last Saturday, they reasoned that they would calmly write new results when the representatives of other political parties disperse at various collation centres in the belief that results had been announced.
“The compromised INEC team is led by a staff of INEC called ‘Ifenna Onoh’ who for several years has been the liaison between the State government and in particular, the Chief of Staff, Enugu Government House and INEC officials. It would appear that the relationship has been groomed for years in preparation for this election.
“It was reported that Mrs. Ifenna Onoh, has been a beneficiary of land allocations, and pilgrimage allocations and in exchange, has succeeded in recruiting staff for the benefit of the governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, particularly into the ICT department.
“We have also been informed that sums running into hundreds of millions have been exchanged over the years and through third-party agents to conceal the money trail.
“Mrs Onoh is therefore under obligation to do everything in her power to ensure the declaration of Peter Mbah, as the next Governor of Enugu State.
“Currently, INEC maintains a secret office at Fontana Hotels located at Independence Layout for this purpose.
“They have also reportedly recruited the security agencies into their plot. The role of the security services is purportedly for them not to show up when they start causing mayhem at polling units and collation centres until they have accomplished their wicked plans.
“Furthermore, they have secured substantial numbers of ‘election duty’ stickers and plan to use that to evade security by moving around in vehicles on which these stickers are pasted.
“They have also produced Security Systems Uniforms for thugs to disguise as escorts to INEC personnel from the point of dispatch to a pre-arranged location where rigging will be carried out using the non-collected PVCs of voters across the 17 Local Government Areas.
“The above information has been shared with the National Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the State Security Service, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of Defence staff and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“The purpose of this revelation is to let ndi Enugu know that the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Enugu will do all that is possible to guarantee the safety of our people, ensure that you exercise your right to vote on March 11 and see that your vote is protected.
“We will not take lightly any plans to subvert or abuse the democratic process.”