Twenty-four House of Assembly candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ebonyi State, weekend accused the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of colluding with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and security agencies to compromise elections in the State.
They spoke in Enugu where they addressed journalists on their feelings over the outcome of the polls.
A joint press statement signed by the candidates was read by Engr. Jude Okpor, Ezza North East candidate.
They said hopes of the people were dashed during the elections as the PDP allegedly unleashed the security agencies and thugs on them, with the backing of the INEC.
While also accusing the minister of Science and Technology. Chief Ogbonnaya Onu and some other federal appointees from the State of working for the PDP, they called on the APC national leadership to place appropriate sanctions on them.
He said, “The 2019 gubernatorial/ House of Assembly general election which took place on the 9th of march in Ebonyi state has come and gone, but certain facts cannot be swept under the carpet.
“That the Distinguished Senator Sonni Ogbuoji flew the gubernatorial flag of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ebonyi State on the 9th of March 2019 election and he substantially and singlehandedly funded most party’s activities all through the pre-election and election phases.
That the campaign team led by the gubernatorial candidate toured round the thirteen (13) Local Government Areas of Ebonyi state where he campaigned vigorously for votes from Ebonyi electorates
“That the civil servants of Ebonyi state, market women and men, artisans, students and the general public vowed to vote and support APC in the just concluded elections,
“That distinguished Senator Sonni Ogbuoji gave supports including but not limited to financial support to all the 24 House of Assembly (HOA) candidates.
“That on the 9th of March 2019, Ebonyians and the candidates went for the election expecting a free, fair and credible election, but to our greatest dismay the reverse was the case.”
He alleged that “there were massive irregularities characterized by multiple voting as People Democratic Party (PDP) thugs and supporters used stockpiled Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) which were released to them by INEC officials prior to the period of election. In most cases, the use of Card Reader was abandoned while manual accreditation was used which resulted in multiple thumb printing of unused ballot papers in favour of the PDP resulting to the invalidation of valid votes of APC candidates.
“Several cases of intimidation, harassment, assault, abduction of party members, arrest of House of Assembly (HOA) candidates were witnessed in all the 24 constituencies of Ebonyi state while election was going on.
“Security agents and PDP thugs in connivance with INEC officials were used to hijack sensitive materials to unknown places where results were written in favour of PDP
“Although we contested against a desperate and brutal incumbent governor who had earlier promised to grind and crush any opposition element standing on his way to his re-election bid, we will not fail to highlight issues of internal sabotages by APC party leaders within and outside the state.
“At this juncture, we want to state unequivocally, that most federal appointees from the state played little or no role towards the electoral fortunes of the party APC in Ebonyi state.
“It is a public knowledge that the National leader from the South West, Asiwaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu along with cabinet members and other party leaders played major roles that led to the successes of the APC in their zone. In the South South, the impact of Rotimi Amaechi cannot be over-emphasized. Similarly, Alhaji Lai Mohammed led the liberation of Kwara State in the North Central. We are constrained to ask, where is our own National leader Ogbonnaya Onu throughout the struggle to liberate Ebonyi state in the just concluded election?
“It has also filtered to our knowledge that some fifth columnist within and outside our great party in the state are doing everything humanly possible to smear, denigrate and launder the image of our gubernatorial candidate Distinguished Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, with the intention of causing disaffection, disunity, and crisis amongst party faithful and Ebonyi citizens, and paving way for Dave Umahi to join APC – this we condemn in the strongest terms.
“That we are aware that the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State led by David Umahi has concluded plans to stage a protest directed against the APC gubernatorial candidate, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, all APC candidates, the APC State party chairman, Eze Nwachukwu Eze and the APC State Working Committee in other to cause disaffection within the APC family, and perpetrate his planned entry into the APC.
“We therefore state categorically, that we the APC House of Assembly (HOA) candidates are solidly behind distinguished Senator Sonni Ogbuoji. We believe in him and we will continue to work and support him in whatever legitimate course he may embark on towards the liberation of Ebonyi people.
“We support wholeheartedly, the position of our gubernatorial candidate for the cancellation of the 9th March gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Ebonyi State.
“We further call on the National leadership of the All Progressives Congress to please investigate the role played by some of our party leaders and federal appointees in the just concluded elections and met out appropriate sanctions where necessary.”