Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has finally given its approval to today’s Convention of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, holding in Awka, Anambra State.
It said it will be on hand to monitor proceedings at the event.
The development came amid discordant tunes from the embattled former chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, who alleged that the convention was being convened by impostors who claimed to be executive members of the party.
It will be recalled that the party has been in crises. Apart from the all-time feud that has been bedeviling it, the party launched itself in another bout of crises arising from the sack of Umeh by a court in Enugu.
Consequently, leader of the party and governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, handpicked Maxi Okwu as acting chairman of the party.
Soon after he assumed office, Okwu, in conjunction with Obi, announced the party’s convention. But controversy erupted when INEC recently rejected a notice of the convention served it by Obi on the grounds that he was neither the chairman of the party nor executive member.
Just when it was believed that the convention might not hold, consequent upon INEC’s earlier position, the commission said it was going to be part of the convention.
Meanwhile, the former chairman, Umeh, is in the Court of Appeal in an effort to restore his position as chairman of the party.
When contacted on the matter, the INEC’s Public Affairs Director, Mr. Emmanuel Umenger, confirmed the commission’s approval of the convention.
He said: “The only thing I know is that INEC is suggestible to an APGA’s convention which will be convened by the state chairmen of the party as well as statutory members of the party. We have given our blessing.
“You have APGA state chairmen and then you have statutory APGA executives. So the Commission has said if these people come together as one body and they decide to convene, then the commission will be willing to monitor or observe the proceedings at the convention.”
On Umeh’s impending judgement, Umenger said: “That is entirely a different issue. We are talking about APGA’s convention and the willingness of the Commission. It is not INEC that is convening the convention so you cannot charge INEC of abridging any section of the law or with contempt of court or whatever.
“We are only saying that if the entire body which comprises state chairmen of the party and the statutory members of the party, if they agree to hold a convention, then the commission will be there to observe proceedings at that convention in line with the dictates of the law and do the report thereafter. So we have not abridged any law. We are saying these are the conditions.
“If you meet them, fine and good. So, we wouldn’t know whether Umeh will agree to be part of that convention. In fact, what we are saying is that put your house in order, call for a convention and we will be there.”