The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi, Mr. Stanley Okoro Emegha, has claimed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accepted and recognised Governor David Umahi as the party’s candidate for Ebonyi South Senatorial zone.
According to him, the electoral body allegedly stepped down Umahi from the shortlisted APC senatorial candidates following a mix up.
He said the restoration of the Governor’s name followed the intervention of the party at the state and national leadership.
The Governor’s name was initially missing from the list of candidates released by INEC last week for the national assembly elections.
Umahi’s younger brother Austin Umahi had initially won the primary election defeating Mrs Ann Agom-Eze to clinch the party’s ticket.
But he allegedly withdrew his candidature after the Governor lost the presidential primary, paving the way for the conduct of a fresh primaries on the eve of the deadline for the conduct of the primaries.
Emegha, who spoke to journalists in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, said the stepping down of the Governor’s name was a minor error from the INEC..
He said: “I went there, it was a minor error from the INEC side and it has been corrected. The governor’s name not appearing wasn’t from the party, and the necessary things were done. The stepping down of the two candidates that contested for that senatorial election was there with the party and INEC.
“INEC was invited for the re-conduction because there was enough time for the party to re-conduct another primary election that will usher in another person.
“And the time was actually met, the re-conduction of the election was done, the video clips are there, all the necessary security agencies and the ministries that were supposed to be there were there on the day of the re-conduction of the senatorial candidate primaries of APC in Ebonyi south.
“And then, a panel was set up at the national secretariat Abuja and they arrived. We took them to Afikpo which is the venue for the election, they did all the necessary things, and the delegates that were supposed to participate in the primaries were all there.
“Mind you, the particular column was blank, so there wasn’t an issue. If you like, they can still forward a list of the states that had issues and the possible substitution they made, because the national office of the party can not afford to leave any particular space vacant.
“Anybody carrying any news is carrying it on their own. But I went to Abuja, I called them and asked them why am I seeing and hearing such stories on social media, they traced it and saw where it was coming from and it was immediately corrected.”
Speaking on the reason for the re-conduction of senatorial primaries of Ebonyi South, Emegha said Austin Umahi, the winner of the earlier election withdrew to concentrate on his business.
“It is not a substitution, it was a re-conduction of primaries as a result of his steeping down or withdrawal, he said it will tie his business down,” he stated.