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2019: Buhari’s aides fight over Ekweremadu’s seat



2019: Buhari’s aides fight over Ekweremadu’s seat

KENNETH OFOMA writes on the battle for All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial ticket for Enugu West by two aides of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu and Special Assistant to the President on Judicial Reform and Open Government Partnership, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu


Protests have continued to trail the October 3, senatorial primary elections of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu West senatorial district.


The seat is currently occupied by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who has already secured the ticket for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the position for the fifth term.

Two chieftains of the APC in Enugu State and aides to President Muhammadu Buhari, Osita Okechukwu and Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, are present at loggerhead over the outcome of the senatorial primary.


Okechukwu, who is the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), has asked the announced winner of the exercise, Ibekaku-Nwagwu, who is a Special Assistant to the President on Judicial Reform and Open Government Partnership to stop dropping the name of Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka in a bid to justify a “stolen mandate,”
Ibekaku-Nwagwu had said in a media report that Rev. Fr. Mbaka, the Founder of renowned Adoration Ministries Enugu, prayed for her victory against Deputy Senate President, Ekweremadu, in the forthcoming senatorial election in Enugu West.


But, in statement on Monday, Okechukwu said he has great respect for Fr. Mbaka and do not think that the cleric he knows would pray for the stolen mandate, which Ibekaku-Nwagwu is bandying about.


According to the VON DG, Ibekaku-Nwagwu did not earn the results allocated to her in the primaries in a desperate bid to declare her as the winner of the Enugu West senatorial primary election. Consequently, Okechukwu, an aspirant for the ticket, said he has protested to the party’s Appeal Panel over the unearned votes to Ibekaku-Nwagwu in the primary.


Okechukwu said he is following due process by filing a petition before the appeal panel, in a bid to recover his mandate.


In a petition to the Appeal Panel for Enugu West sitting in Abuja, Okechukwu submitted that the allocation of the results was not only brazen, utter imposition of candidate and without tact, but clearly demonstrated the complicity of the Primary Election Panel led by Prof. Moses Momoh.


In the petition titled: “Protest over allocation of votes to Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu in Enugu West senatorial district primary election,” Okechukwu stated that the votes were wrongfully allocated interalia: Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku Nwagwu – 5,750, Gbazuagu Nweke Gbazuagu – 4,015, Osita Okechukwu – 2, 344 and Pius Eze – 600, thus making a total of 12,709 votes.


Part of the petition read: “The allocation of the results were not only brazen, utter imposition of candidate and without tact, but clearly demonstrated the complicity of the Primary Election Panel led by Prof. Moses Momoh, for I polled a total of 7,919 votes in Awgu one of the five local government areas of the senatorial district. Evidence attached as Annex 1. Annex 11 is also attached. It is my candid view that the signatures be subjected to Forensic Test, if in doubt, to clear the air.


“I humbly further submit that the results from the 81 Wards were in my favour, as I led other three contestants with over 15,000 votes, Chief Gbazuagu Nweke Gbazuagu coming second and Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu distant third. I am ready to furnish more evidences, if requested.


“To proof that their allocations were tactless and lacked common sense is that the two Federal House of Representatives candidates – Chef Joe Mammel, polled over 9,000 votes from Udi/Ezeagu and Mr. VinMartin Ilo polled over 9,000 votes from Aniri/Awgu/Oji River, while the four senatorial aspirants were merely allocated 12,709 in the same district.


“My fear, as one of the foundation members of the APC, is that in the general election, Mrs. Ibekaku-Nwagwu lacks the gravitas to win Senator Ekweremadu. Earlier before the primary election news filtered in that Senator Ekweremadu, the incumbent, has vowed that he will make sure that Okechukwu is stopped from making the list. His reason is that he needs a weaker APC candidate, who will not enjoy the massive support I have among ordinary party members and the general public. This played out when a large segment of the senator’s supporters jubilated over her alleged victory.”


He therefore appealed to members of the appeal panel to use their good offices in the interest of their great party and dear president, to rectify the unwarranted imposition of Mrs. Ibekaku-Nwagwu and validate his election as the candidate of APC, to avoid dissension and discontent among the rank and file of party members.


Ibekaku-Nwagwu, the Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reform and Open Government Partnership, has spoken on her victory at the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial primary.


Ibekaku-Nwagwu, had told journalists at the Rev. Fr. Mbaka’s Adoration Ground in Enugu on Sunday that the cleric had predicted her victory, adding that she was confident that she would defeat incumbent Deputy Senate President, Ekweremadu.


“In the past it, was a mere affirmation for him. I am the only candidate with the magic finger to defeat him. He will be defeated this time. Fr. Mbaka prayed for me and told me straight that I would win the contest.


“The outcome of such prayer was what gave me victory in the primary. I owe every appreciation to God almighty. I will continue to hold on to God until I unseat Ekweremadu at the 2019 general election,” she said, promising to ensure quality representation of the zone at the Senate if elected.

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