Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Ebonyi State has alleged that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) plans to rig the governorship and state house of assembly elections in the state.
The party made the allegation in a statement on Sunday by Mr Charles Otu, Director, Media and Publicity, Odohzhia Ebonyi Campaign council.
It alleged that it has uncovered a grand plot by the ruling APC in Ebonyi State, led by Governor David Umahi, to transfer a total sum of N7.8Bn from one of the State’s Government accounts.
The funds are allegedly meant to compromise the electoral integrity of the polls for immediate disbursement to underlisted persons and agencies involved in the said election.
The party drew the attention of the Presidency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the development in Ebonyi State.
He said: “As the clock ticks faster for Saturday’s Governorship and State’s Houses of Assembly elections in Ebonyi State, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA Governorship candidate, Professor Benard Odoh’s campaign council, popularly known as Odohzia Ebonyi Campaign council have uncovered a grand plot by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ebonyi State led by Governor David Umahi to transfer a total sum of N7.8Bn from one of the State’s Government accounts allegedly meant to compromise the electoral integrity of the polls for immediate disbursement to underlisted persons and agencies involved in the said election.
“According to reliable sources, the said sum is to be distributed in agreed sums to the Electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Security agencies such as the Police and soldiers who will be involved in election duties and the Returning Officers for the election in various Local Government Areas.
“The disbursement, we gathered is to be passed in form of an ’empowerment scheme’ through the 13 Local Government Councils to INEC, Police and the Nigerian Military officers on election duty, including all those who have been pin-pointed to have a role to play in elections process.
“We recall that rumours have been rife particularly in the social media that some INEC staff had been invited last week to a meeting in the Osborn Hotel (Extension) belonging to Governor Umahi and located in Abakaliki the State capital. An INEC staff who was in the venue had claimed that the meeting could not go on but that they were directed to meet with the Chairmen of the various Local Government Areas they were posted to work “for briefing.”
“Further efforts to get the outcome of the proposed briefing from the council bosses unraveled this grand plot to disburse the whooping sum to the aforementioned bodies and agencies all in their bland desperation to manipulate the outcome of next Saturday’s election.
He added: “For us in APGA, we are very worried about this mountain of allegations emanating even from those serving in Umahi’s government and we are even more particularly troubled by the way and manner the INEC and security agencies colluded with the State Government actors to tamper with the electoral wishes of Ebonyi people by declaring election results in favour of APC candidates even in places where votes were canceled and dubious manipulations extensively carried out.
“We had raised the alarm in our earlier Media briefing that from some wards in Ikwo LGA, Oriuzor in Ezza North (with over 17, 000 registered voters) to Umuhuali in Ishielu Local Government Area all in Ebonyi Central to Ohaozara LGA, Onicha and Afikpo South LGAs in Ebonyi South even to some parts of Ohaukwu, Ebonyi, Abakaliki and Izzi Local Government Areas in Ebonyi North Senatorial zone, the Ebonyi electorate have been totally disenchanted with the outcome of last Saturday’s polls.
“Yet, the uncommon electoral thieves who perpetrated these electoral heists across the length and breadth of Ebonyi State are rather challenging those who the electorates willingly and freely offered their mandates to go to court.
“These unhealthy developments in our polity coupled with the uncanny boasting of the APC Governorship candidate, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, who is largely unacceptable to majority of the Ebonyi electorate that “my winning is sacrosanct” (even when he’s not campaigning or soliciting for votes) has therefore further worsened our concerns about next Saturday’s elections.
“To this end, APGA, Ebonyi State therefore calls on the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related Offences Commission, ICPC and security agencies across the nation to be vigilant and monitor all transactions on all the State government’s accounts from the UBA, First Bank to Zenith Bank among other commercial banks operated by the Ebonyi State Government.”
“We further call on Ebonyians to be vigilant and report any such suspicious transactions or attempts to manipulate this Saturday’s election to the security and other appropriate agencies for immediate action.
“We should not be cowed, threatened or our consciences bought with just a morsel of bread from those who have held this State hostage in the last eight years of cosmetic governance.”
Ikengaonline could not independently verify the allegation against the Governor and his party APC.
Reacting, Governor Umahi denied the allegations as a mere propaganda by a losing party.
The governor, who spoke through his Media Aide, Chooks Oko, urged the public not to pay the opposition party any attention.
He said: “Tales by serial losers. Failure, abysmal failure, is staring them in the face and telling fairy tales is an escapism for them.
“For them that is the only route to take to deceive the public into according them any kind of seriousness. Nobody should take them seriously,” he added.