Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 19 August 2017 | 1,541 times
One life was lost on Saturday during the controversial United Peoples Party (UPP) primary in Awka even as the frontrunner, former Minister of Aviation and one-time FRSC boss, Chief Osita Chidoka, emerged the party’s governorship candidate for the November 18, 2017 election with a total vote of 1,222 votes.
Chairman Local Organizing Committee of the primary election, Chief Chris Uche. who announced the result, said: “Based on the figure I have, Chief Osita Chidoka, has been elected the candidate of the party for the governorship election of Anambra.”
A total of 1,473 votes were cast, while 19 of it were announced as void votes..
The deceased, Mr. Maduabuchi Tochukwu Uwakwe, who was before his death the Chairman of Owerre-Ezukala ward 1 in Orumba South Local Government Area, of the state died as a result of police tear gas.
Though some people said he died as a result of stampede after police sprayed tear gas to control the maddening crowd that came with the second aspirant, Hon. Chudi Offodile, the lawmaker in an interview denied the allegation saying that his supporters were calm.
Though the deceased was said to be suffering from Asthma, Offodile said he died while trying to ensure that the authentic delegates were accredited.
A delegate who spoke on anonymity said that the police in an effort to control the crowd sprayed tear gas into the air.
Offodile however said the uproar resulted from the panel’s use of a fraudulent list instead of the original list of delegates which the original delegates tried to stop adding that Uwakwe died while he was trying to get accredited as a proper delegate.
The two time member of the House of Representatives explained that the issue of a fraudulent list being brandished on the internet in place of the authentic list has been on in the party for a while with the national body of the party promising to sort it out but never did.
While describing the primary as a kangaroo exercise, he said, “I decided to withdraw from the kangaroo exercise earlier today at about 8am when it became apparent that the panel conducting the election was using a list of unelected delegates to conduct the process instead of the list of the elected delegates.
“This matter has been on in the party for several weeks when the list of authentic delegates by the way are, ward chairmen, ward secretaries, treasurers, youth leader, women leader and then the local government chairmen and secretaries were substituted. They constitute the Electoral College for the state congress.
“Out of this elected delegates, some of them, about 40 percent of it was substituted by the national headquarters unilaterally and in contravention of the UPP constitution.
“For the simple reason that for you to remove a ward chairman or secretary or local government chairman or secretary. The only body saddled with that authority is either the local government congress that elected them or the ward congress that elected them.
“No other individual no matter how highly placed or organ of the party can usurp the functions of the local government ward executive and it is worse when it is arbitrary done without regard to any form of legality.”
He accused the national headquarters of the party of coming up with names of people that are known to belong to a certain campaign organisation.
He added: “Worse still is that the list they uploaded on the internet which they are using and has been on the internet for several weeks have no telephone number. The authentic list of the party’s delegates with their portfolios and phone number is here as you can see.”
On the position of the party national leadership, the lawmaker said, they do not have the power to appoint delegates.
“Delegates mandatorily by the nature of section 87 of the electoral act as amended must be elected. Any attempt to use unelected delegates will lead to issues like we have, so I will not submit to illegal progress.”
He regretted the death of Uwakwe who he said came into town yesterday for the party’s primary.
“He tried to help the proper delegates get accredited as they were being disenfranchised openly by their own party; it was in that process that the incident occurred. The mere fact that a political party organising a congress had an internal fracas with several armed personnel clearly indicate that something fraudulent was going on otherwise why did they have to shoot, even if they were firing tear gas.
“Why was it not possible for the party to have a proper list of delegates accredited? That is the question that the party needs to answer. I got involved in a party I thought was progressive,” he stated
It would be recalled that the state chairman of UPP, Dr. Sylvester Igwilo, had few days to the primary cried out that the national body of the party had changed the original list of delegates in favour of a certain candidate and to this end; the state executive was within 24 hours suspended.
Confirming the death of one, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Nkiru Nwode, said that some people came to the venue of the primary to cause trouble and in the crisis that ensued, the man slumped and died.
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