All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Abia State chapter has faulted the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission’s (ABSIEC) decision to collect N500, 000 and N200, 000 from chairmanship and councillorship candidates in the December 17 Local Government election in the state.
The party in a release signed by its chairman, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, and made available to news men in Umuahia, also condemned the additional N15, 000 to be paid across by candidates which the Abia electoral umpire said was administrative fee.
Ehiemere said that collecting such huge amounts when possible candidates would have paid for their nomination forms to their respective political parties was bizarre as it had no exemplary precedent from its parent body, INEC. APGA equally frowned at the timing of the election which it said negated the sensitivity of Abians who were mostly Christians and attached great religious importance to Christmas who would have been at their respective home towns when any possible rerun would hold on December 28.
The release reads in part: “that during the formal briefing involving the political parties and the press organised by ABSIEC on the forthcoming LG election, APGA applauded ABSIEC for coming up with the idea of LG election, but frowned at the sudden arrangements which might impede the effectiveness, the transparency and the participation of both the contestants and voters; that since voters’ registers to be used for the election were going to come from INEC as publicly admitted by ABSIEC, we feel it makes both legal and moral sense for ABSIEC to wait for INEC to update the voters’ registers before proceeding with the election; that ABSIEC’s decision to commence the election on the December 17 and hold possible run offs on December 28 negates the sensitivity of Abians who are mostly adherents of the Christian faith, who attach great religious importance to Christmas and would possibly be in their respective home towns to celebrate the Christmas during the time under review.
“ABSIEC decision to collect the sum of N500, 000 from chairmanship candidates and N200, 000 from councillorship candidates, and N15, 000 administrative fee when the possible candidates would have paid for their nomination forms to their respective political parties is bizarre to us as it does not draw any exemplary precedent from its parent body INEC.”
APGA said it was worried by ABSIEC’s declaration that results of the chairmanship election would be announced at the LG headquarters a day after the election instead of the same day of the poll and stated that this would create room for manipulation. Ehiemere was however silent on the parties, position on participation in the election.
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