By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
There are strong indications that the leadership crisis rocking the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) might affect the party’s participation in the November 6, this year’s Anambra State governorship election.
It was reliably gathered yesterday that the Independent National Electoral you, INEC, wrote to the APGA declaring as invalid, its failure to notify it (INEC) of the plan to hold ward congresses ahead of the governorship poll within the 21 days recommended by its regulations and Section 85 of the Electoral Act.
The Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC, it will be recalled, has fixed the conduct of party primaries for the election of governorship candidate between June 10 and July 1.
The electoral body, in a letter to the National Chairman,APGA drew the attention to the party’s letter of June 16, 2021, forwarding the list of delegates for the nomination of APGA’s governorship candidate in the forthcoming Anambra State governorship election.
According to the letter, “This is to notify you that the records of the commission indicates that APGA did not duly notify the commission of the date of the congress where the ad hoc delegates were elected as required by Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)
“Accordingly the Commission is unable to confirm if the ad hoc delegates list submitted by your party is the outcome of a democratic process as required by Section 87(7) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
“The commission wishes to emphasise the need for full compliance with all legal requirements for the conduct of party primaries as earlier communicated in the Commissions letter to your Party dated 37 June 2021 (REF: INEC/DEPM/UPPM/119/1/37)”, it said.
It will be recalled that INEC had earlie written to the principal counsel of a law firm, Omas and Partners, who had written and asked for the information while relying on the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
The letter, which was dated June 18, 2021 reads, “This is to inform you that the commission did not receive the statutory 21 days’ notice for the nomination of APGA Anambra State governorship candidate from Victor Oye led APGA.
“Accordingly, the commission did not monitor the said ward congress and as such, there is no monitoring report of the Commission.”
The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye could not be reached for confirmation, as his line was switched off, but a reliable source at the commission said the letter might have been leaked.
According to him, “We have a channel of communicating to the media, which is through Okoye. So if the letter did not come from him that means it was leaked. That is all I can tell you now.”