Brenda Chidinma Imo-Eze

As the Ebonyi South Senatorial election re-run draws near, the candidate for All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Sir Ifeanyi Eleje has called for a level playing ground in the upcoming elections in Ebonyi South senatorial zone.

Sir Eleje made this known while interacting with journalists shortly after the primary election of the party, which held at the Amuro Mgbo Town Hall in the Afikpo Local Government Area, Ebonyi State, on Tuesday.

Sir Eleje who returned unopposed through a popular Voice Vote by accredited 250 delegates and party members, emphasized on the imperative for fairness from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Speaking, the APGA candidate, Sir Eleje said the outcome of the primaries was a testament that the Ebonyi South constituents needed him to represent them in the Senate.

Reiterating that the state was running a privatised form of political system, he stressed he was poised to serve his people in other to be part of the solution geared towards emancipating them from intimidation.

He said, “I feel happy about the outcome of today’s primaries, and it simply strengthens my belief that my people love and need me to represent them. I feel delighted that we are through with the primaries and I’m aware that this is a-100 metre race and we will see how it pans out.

“I would rather say that it should be a level playing ground for all the participants. I can’t guarantee it and I’m not in a position to say it’s going to be an equal opportunity for everybody. And I do believe that as we progress in the election process, and as we mature in the electioneering process, some of the things that will work against the smooth running will naturally fall away. I’m hopeful that when the people speak clearly it’s more difficult to alter the outcome and I’m hoping that people will speak clearly.

“This is because we cannot have a state that’s privatised. We have to open up the space for people to bring what they have to offer; and if you don’t, people won’t bring what they have to offer. People are politically intimidated in this state, I can tell you that. I have always said I want to be part of the solutions, I don’t want to be complaining. I’m offering myself to be part of the solutions. I have a chance, and you could see it at the venue.”

Asked if he was confident the Independent National Electoral Commission will conduct a free and fair re-run on February 3rd, 2024 in the zone, he maintained he was not in a position to condemn the electoral umpire. He, however, observed the re-run presented another opportunity for the INEC to redeem its image considering the myriads of criticisms that allegedly greeted the last general elections.

“I want to give INEC the benefit of the doubts, because I won’t sit here and condemn an institution like INEC. I will not. In every organisation, there are bad and good eggs. But we will hope that having gone through the criticisms of the past elections that INEC will see it as its duty to launder its image in this re-run election.”

Earlier, declaring Eleje winner in the primaries, Chairman of the Electoral Committee, who also doubled as the Returning Officer of the party, Chief Chukwudi Nwankwo, said the process was credible and devoid of any form of irregularities.

According to him, the Electoral Committee which comprised five members namely Nwankwo, Chairman; Hon. Ken Okeh, Secretary; and Mr. Einstein Ogbonnaya; Bikisu Aliyu Bondinga; and Comrade Caleb Akingbade as members, duly followed the party and INEC guidelines and returned the candidate through a Voice Vote since he was the only aspirant in the contest.

He said , “We are here at Amuro Mgbo Hall to do our ward Congress and primaries to elect the person that will fly our flag in the forthcoming senatorial re-run in the Ebonyi South Zone, and this has been done successfully.

“We have returned Ifeanyi Eleje as the flag-bearer of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, as he was the only aspirant who showed interest to run and he has just emerged as a winner in the primaries. It was on the basis of Voice Votes since there was no other aspirant. We accredited our members and delegates.

“About 250 delegates were accredited and they all gave him their support through a Voice Vote, because there was no counter-view and opposition. This is allowed since there was no other aspirant contesting the ticket with Ifeanyi Eleje. Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission were here from Abuja and Ebony State. So, it was a credible process and we followed the party guidelines and that of the INEC.” He stated

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