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Enugu APC accuses ENSIEC of sabotage as voters elect new chairmen,councillors

By Tony Edike on 04/11/2017

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...Independent observers hail ENSIEC

Voters in Enugu State will today go to the polls to elect chairmen and councillors in the 17 local government areas and 260 wards in the state.

The Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress are seen as the major contestants in the poll, which is the first local council elections in the state since 2013.

However, barely 24 hours before the elections, the APC has accused the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission of “compromising” the electoral process.

Addressing journalists ahead of the polls on Friday, the APC Chairman in Enugu State, Dr. Ben Nwoye, who had earlier alleged that the electoral commission connived with the ruling PDP in the state to perfect plans to rig the elections, said ENSIEC did not notify the party and other relevant stakeholders before commencing the distribution of electoral materials, contrary to electoral procedure.

Nwoye said the distribution of electoral materials was shrouded in secrecy.

He said, “The practice is that, just before the election, all political parties are invited to the Central Bank of Nigeria to observe theretrieval of sensitive electoral materials from the bank’s vaults. I did not get any such notification from ENSIEC.

But a coalition of civil society organizations on Friday hailed the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) over its level of preparedness for the local government elections scheduled for today (Saturday )in Enugu State.

The group, Network of Civil Society Organizations is in Enugu to observe the polls, which would hold across the 17 local government areas of the State.

Leader of the group, Comrade Kalu Victor, as a pre-election press briefing, alongside leaders of other civil society groups, said the team had so far observed that “the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission is resolute, transparent and committed to conducting a free and fair local government in the State, hence provided a level playing ground for all political parties in the State to participate in the election.

“The actions and conducts of ENSIEC, to the best of our knowledge, are so far guided by the State Electoral Laws.

“We gathered that after due consultations and considerations with relevant stakeholders, especially political parties, with respect to the State Electoral Laws, ENSIEC released the timetable for the election, in which 4th November, 2017 was announced and set aside for the election to be held. The timetable and date for the election were unanimously accepted by all political parties in the State and all other stakeholders.

“We observed that for the first time in the history of the State, strong and formidable opposition parties are seriously campaigning and mobilizing to challenge the ruling party in Enugu State in the Local Government polls, this has made the election very interesting.

“We noted that the various candidates emerged through transparent internal party democratic process in their various parties.”

As part of their recommendations, the observers urged the ENSIEC to give priority “to difficult terrains in the State in terms of distribution of election materials to ensure quick and timely commencement of election in such areas.

“Political parties should ensure adequate presence of their party agents in all the poling units for effective party representation during election.”

Apart from the ENSIEC, the team also commended the various security agencies in the State for the assurances of providing a secure and peaceful environment for the election, urging them “never to lose focus but rather remain resolute in safeguarding lives and property even after the elections.

“We commend His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Enugu State for considering it necessary to conduct this very important Local Government Election in the State not minding the economic challenges which other states are using as an excuse.

“We, therefore, advise the government not to interfere in the administration of the chairmen and councillors who would be elected so that the grassroots can directly benefit from the dividends of democracy and good governance in Enugu State.”

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and other party leaders had embarked on a campaign tour of all 260 wards in the state to ensure total victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the local council elections.

Posted 04/11/2017 05:58:24 AM

 

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