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Fallout of Enugu presidential rally: APC may remove embattled Agballah

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Ugochukwu Agballah, Enugu APC Chairman

• We’ve been vindicated – Ude, Chairman, Mainstream APC

The last may not have been heard about the crisis bedeviling the Enugu State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (Congress), as it is reliably gathered that the state party chairman, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah is said to have embarked on a desperate move to save his job over allegations of corruption and the boycott of the parties presidential rally in Enugu by the state’s party big wigs.

This fear in Agballah camp, it is gathered followed the decision of the national leadership of the party and the APC Presidential Campaign Council to postpone the party’s presidential rally in Taraba State following the alleged embezzlement of N200 million campaign fund by the leadership of the party in Taraba, a similar allegation that led to the flop of the party’s presidential rally in Enugu, recently.

Reliable party sources said that the national leadership of the APC and the APC Presidential Campaign Council, which appear to have learnt from their Enugu experience may have finally made up their minds to sack the embattled party chairman to save what remains of the party’s hope of securing 25 per cent of votes in Enugu in the February 25 presidential election and equally save the party from total collapse in the state.

The decision by the party followed a recent massive protest at the national headquarters of the APC by aggrieved members of the party in Enugu under the auspices of the Concerned Enugu APC members at the party’s national headquarters accusing Ugochukwu Agballah and the Enugu APC governorship candidate, Chief Uche Nnaji of “impunity, gross misconducts, divisiveness, maladministration and embezzlement of party funds to tune of over N1.3bn”.

The protesters demanded Agballah’s removal and restitution of said N1.3bn and additional funds said to be running into hundreds of millions of naira donated by a South East governor of the APC extraction for the hosting of the presidential rally in Enugu by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim shettima.

The party is also peeved by the boycott of presidential rally of the party at Okpara Square, Enugu, by the leaders of the party in the State such as former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; former governor of the Enugu State, Sullivan Chime; former Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Hon. Eugene Odoh; Director-General of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu; Member of the Police Service Commission, Chief Onyemuche Nnamani, among a host of other major APC stakeholders in Enugu State.

However, party sources said that Agballah is lobbying the South East party stakeholders in the region to help weather the storm.

Confirming the development, the pioneer deputy chairman of APC and chairman of Enugu Mainstream APC, Comrade Adolphus Ude, said the Concerned Enugu APC Members, which he leads have been justified, adding that the party should have saved itself the “embarrassment of the flopped presidential rally organised by Agballah by postponing the rally, just as they did in Taraba”.

“Yes, I can confirm to you that the factional chairman of the party in our state is in deep trouble. Unfortunately, while wisdom teaches us that you don’t dig further when you are in a hole, Agballah continued to dig and dig until he buried himself in his own conceitedness and greed.

“It is true he is running from pillar to pole to save a job he didn’t deserve or get in the first place, as he was never an APC member. But for how far can he run because the noose is too tight. The evidences of how he and Uche Nnaji short-changed party faithful to the tune of N1.3 billion plus the last hundreds of million released by a governor for the Enugu APC presidential rally are too clear and real to be ignored by the national party leadership. In fact, the party should have postponed the rally as they just did in Taraba.

“Importantly, at the end of the day, every party wants to win elections. But it is clear to the party now that there is no hope of APC in Enugu with Agballa in the saddle. So, he has to go”, Ude stated.

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Why tribunal sacked Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke

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Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke

Governor Ademola Adeleke-led administration in Osun State came to a hurting halt on Friday as the Osun Election Petitions Tribunal sacked him from office. His stay in office lasted a mere 62 days!

While annulling the July 16 Osun governorship poll results, the tribunal held that the Independent National Electoral Commission did not comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Electoral Act as amended.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Adeleke, the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate, the winner of the July 16 election.

The Returning Officer for the election and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, announced that Adeleke got a total of 403,371 votes, beating the incumbent Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC, who garnered 375,027 votes in the keenly contested race.

In the election held across 3,763 polling units in the 30 local government areas in Osun, the PDP won 17 of the LGAs, while the APC recorded more votes in the remaining 13. The PDP won in Ede North, Ede South, Ifelodun, Boluwaduro, Egbedore, Odo Otin, Osogbo, Ila, Atakumosa West, Olorunda, Ilesa West, Obokun, Oriade, Orolu, Ife North, Irepodun, and Ejigbo LGAs.

The APC, on the other hand, won in Boripe, Ilesa East, Ayedire, Ifedayo, Ife Central, Ayedaade, Iwo, Olaoluwa, Isokan, Atakumosa East, Irewole, Ife South, and Ife East LGAs. Out of the 1,955,657 registered voters in the state, 1,479,595 Permanent Voter Cards were collected before the election.

Adeleke’s victory raised the PDP-governed states’ tally to 14, with the ruling APC states dropping to 21.

But the hope of Adeleke, known for his dancing skills and fondly referred to as the ‘Dancing Senator’, was dashed on Friday after the tribunal annulled the result of the July 16 governorship poll.

While delivering a majority decision vote, Justice Tetsea Kume ruled that INEC did not comply substantially with the constitution and the provisions of the Electoral Act.

He subsequently deducted the over-voting observed from the votes scored by the candidates and declared that Oyetola won the election, having polled 314, 921, while Adeleke’s score came down to 290, 266.

He directed INEC to withdraw Adeleke’s certificate of return and issue another one to Oyetola who won a majority of the lawful votes.

Meanwhile, Governor Ademola Adeleke has reacted to his sacking by the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo.

In a statement signed by his spokesman, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, the governor described it as a miscarriage of justice.

The statement read: “The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke has described the judgement of the governorship tribunal as ” a miscarriage of justice”, vowing to challenge the ruling at the Court of Appeal.

“Reacting to the verdict of the Tribunal from his country home, Ede, Governor Adeleke faulted the resolution of the over-voting question in favour of Mr Oyetola, calling it “an unfair interpretation against the will of majority of voters”

“While urging his supporters to remain calm, Governor Adeleke vowed to appeal the judgement at the Court of Appeal, insisting he remains the rightful winner of the July 16 election.

“I call on our people to remain calm. We will appeal the judgement and we are sure justice will be done. Let our people be reassured that we will do everything possible to retain this widely acclaimed mandate”, Governor Adeleke declared.”

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Fresh trouble in Enugu APC over campaign funding

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The crisis tearing the All Progressives Congress (APC) apart in Enugu State has taken a new twist as the candidates of the party in the state are set for a major showdown with the state chairman, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah and the governorship candidate, Chief Uche Nnaji, over camapgn funds.

Sources at the State Executive Committee (SEC) meeting of the party, which held on Wednesday, 25th January 2023 said trouble started when Agballah directed candidates to bear the cost of logistics for the campaign.

“The state chairman briefed us that 2023 campaigns in the stage would hold on the basis of State Constituencies. That is based on the House of Assembly seat constituencies. You know there are 24 State Constituencies in Enugu State.

“He gave the various dates and venues for the campaigns, which will begin next week.

“However, trouble started when it was announced that the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senatorial candidates would be responsible for the logistics of the campaign in each of their State Constituencies, while the governorship candidate would be responsible for stipends for the people that would attend.

“But that is the problem. Where is the money released for the campaign by our party, particularly a South East governor of APC extraction?”, the source said.

The party source said majority of the candidates were also angry that the remainder of the sum of N238 million given to Agballah and Nnaji to field candidates for all the elective positions in the State was not accounted for.

“Ordinarily, there should never have been trouble in the Enugu APC, but for the decision of a few to shortchange the majority.

“When Dr. Ben Nwoye was there, did we ever have any arguments over money? Did we ever hear about the embezzlement of allowances given to presidential primary delegates? But today, $1.5 million given to delegates at the 2022 APC national convention and presidential primary have ended up in the pockets of two people. But we will ensure that they cough it out.

“Under Nwoye, did we ever hear that nearly N300m was released to buy nominations forms and field candidates for all elective positions, but missing? Did we hear that money released for APC rallies or campaigns got missing? But today, every money that comes to Enugu APC grows wings and flies into two pockets.

“But we won’t allow them to digest it. We will make sure that they cough every bit if it out”, an aggrieved State House of Assembly candidate stated.

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Ebonyi PDP raises alarm over APC’s alleged plans to attack Campaign DG

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•Ebonyi PDP 2023 Campaign DG, Austin Igwe Edeze

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ebonyi State chapter, has raised the Alarm over plans by the ruling All progressives Congress (APC) to attack its Campaign Director-General, Chief Austin Igwe Edeze.

Edeze, who contested the PDP primaries and lost out to Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii, the party’s gubernatorial flagbearer, hails from the same lzzi Local Government Area of the state with APC governorship candidate, Hon. Francis Nwifuru.

A statement signed and made available to newsmen by Deputy Director, Media and Publicity, PDP campaign council, Comrade Moses Idika, said: “Our attention has been drawn to a clandestine plot by some miscreants and hoodlums hired by the APC Government in Ebonyi State to attack the Director-General of the PDP Campaign Council, Chief Austin Igwe Edeze.

“The DG, a popular politician in the state was appointed by the PDP Governorship Candidate and was inaugurated on Thursday last week alongside other members.

The statement said that information at the disposal revealed that the APC led-government in Ebonyi State was bitter of Edeze’s solid profile which would help to boost the main opposition’s strength.

According to the statement, “An attempt by yet to be identified hoodlums had failed two nights ago when they stormed the house of the PDP Campaign DG but were repelled by vigilant security operatives attached to him.

“We are aware that these evil doers are now planning a fresh attack on Chief Edeze.Whereas Chief Edeze, a former member of the APC Board of Trustees left the party in February, 2022. He contested the PDP Governorship Primaries and lost to Dr. Ifeanyi Odii.

“Since Chief Edeze was appointed to lead the PDP campaign in Ebonyi State, the APC top hierarchy in the state has been downcast and jittery following the popular upsurge of support being enjoyed by the PDP with prospects of mass decampings troubling the APC.

“Therefore, we want to state categorically that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Those who resort to violence and hooliganism should count the disastrous consequences to themselves if and when we decide to play at their tuff.

“We seize this opportunity to alert security agencies, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director General State Security Service and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), to checkmate the evil machinations of the hired hoodlums whose planned destruction of lives and property may herald another round of bloodshed in the state.”

The party requested that the security agencies to use their good Offices to nip the evil plot in the bud, so as to frustrate the hands of the enemies of democratic governance in Ebonyi State.

As at the time of filing the report, all efforts to reach Mr. Leo Oketa, a member of APC media campaign council for comment proved abortive.

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