By NewsCritic Reporters
As the December 18, 2020 Local Government Elections in Abia State draws nearer, there is uncertainty over the possibility of the election holding in Isiala-Ngwa South LGA, following the petition by the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, leadership over the unresolved issue arising from the conduct of the 2016 polls in the area.
The Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, in Abia State has just ended its meeting with Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, which centred on the forthcoming LGA elections in the state. The IPAC has taken the governor on the complaint by the APGA leadership led by Reverend Augustine Ehiemere on the refusal of the Abia State government to honour the judgement of the Abia State Local Government Election Petition Tribunal which nullified the election of the PDP Chairmanship candidate for Isiala-Ngwa South LGA in 2016, Mr Isikaku Goddy.
APGA Chairmanship candidate in the 2016 election for Isiala-Ngwa South, Hon. Christian Okeri, had approached the Election Tribunal following what he described as a fraudulent election. The Tribunal nullified the Chairmanship election in the LGA and ordered for a fresh election in which the APGA candidate was the sole candidate. The appeal by the PDP candidate was dismissed and the decision of the Tribunal upheld.
However, according to the APGA candidate in the election, Hon Okeri, the ABSIEC flagrantly refused to obey the judgement of the Tribunal which was upheld on appeal till date. Hon Okeri wondered how the ABSIEC is planning to conduct a fresh election in Isialangwa-South when it disobeyed a valid court order, adding that he is ready to pursue the case to a logical conclusion even to the Supreme Court.
IPAC during its meeting on Friday, October 9th 2020 with Governor Ikpeazu raised concerns over the Isiala-Ngwa South verdict, and wondered how the party would be convinced that the ABSIEC will conduct a credible election come December in view of what transpired at Isiala-Ngwa South in the last election.
Also, the issue of the high cost of nomination forms was discussed with the Governor. The Abia electoral umpire, ABSIEC had fixed the cost of Chairmanship form for N500,000 and Councillorship N200,000. This is more than double the price of the forms during the previous LGA elections in the state.
On the Isiala-Ngwa South debacle, Governor Ikpeazu was said to have expressed his displeasure with the development and promised to refer the matter to the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Uche Ihediwa for advice. Similarly, the Governor also promised to hold a meeting with the ABSIEC Chairman, Professor Mkpa Agu Mkpa on the high cost of nomination forms with a view to reducing them.
Again, on the issue of the date for the LGA elections which the IPAC complained of not only being close, but coming during the Yuletide season, the Governor also said he would look into it.