By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA:The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the present Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba for trying to impose Frank Ibezim on the Okigwe People.
This is just as the Association questioned why the Minister of Education should be the person trying to foist a candidate on the people of Okigwe Senatorial Zone, adding that it is totally unacceptable.
The HURIWA National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said this in a press conference on Wednesday while addressing the “Okigwe Senatorial Polls and Electoral Transparency”.
Recall that the former senator representing Okigwe Senatorial Zone, Benjamin Uwajumogu had died on December 18, 2019 thereby leaving the seat vacant. With this, Political parties have had their Bye-election primaries to field candidates for the forthcoming bye-election scheduled for 31st October 2020.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo state, in its primaries, had declared Senator Godwin Ararume winner, with 22,944 votes, but Ibezim Frank who was said to be disqualified from contesting is being bandied about as one of the winners of the elections.
The Imo North Senatorial Screening Committee of the APC in a petition dated September 7,2020 and signed by Dr. Lawrence Chuku, Chairman of the Committee, had observed that Mr. Frank Ibezim who was purported to be one of the possible flag bearers of the party, was not cleared to contest the Imo North Senatorial Primary elections, on the ground that he did not submit any originals of his educational qualification certificates or properly certified true copies for citing.
Dr. Chuku in the petition, said, “We noticed that our report which cleared 5 aspirants and have six not cleared for very cogent and verifiable reasons were jettisoned. One of the aspirants not cleared is being touted as having emerged as one of the winners of the said controversial primary election”.
HURIWA while expressing dismay by the turnout of events in the APC Imo North Senatorial District bye-election, kicked against the plot to impose Frank Ibezim on the people.
According to Onwubiko, “We have a case of a Minister of State from that zone and Governor Hope Uzodinma who are interested to know who becomes the candidate of the APC. The Governor and the Minister of State for Education conspired and produced a person in Douglas house, somebody who did not go to the field to contest the primary election from every available empirical evidence generated by our people who were on ground.
“They sat down and brought up a result that said Frank Ibezim is the winner. Now this is our concern, why is the Minister of State for Education trying to railroad his Personal Assistant? The Minister of State is trying to force this man on the people of Okigwe Senatorial Zone because he is from the same community as him. Is there no fairness in APC, is there no equity in APC, is there no justice in APC?
“We are not saying inevitably the APC is going to win the Elections, but for the fact that there is no purity in terms of the conduct of the exercise and what the Party is trying to do, we are saying it must be halted now before it is late”, he noted.
Onwubiko, who further stated that the Minister of State for Education wants to be a godfather, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Minister or take him away from that strategic ministry, if, “he is such a person that is the spirit behind the candidature of a candidate who cannot show his certificate”.
“Why is Mr. President not concerned that his party is always linked to manipulations? As the Anti-corruption champion in Africa, is President Muhammadu Buhari going to be there and watch his party manipulate the process of selecting a candidate for a Senatorial position in just one constituency?
“It is totally unacceptable and we will write a petition to the President after this briefing, to remind him that the NGO community is very much alive and are watching to see the character of persons that will be presented by the parties”, he said.
HURIWA also charged Frank Ibezim to show his certificate or police reports proving that he had lost his credentials.