Ebonyi: CUPP Condemns Attacks On Opposition Political Parties
By Moses Nwite, Abakaliki
The Coalition of United Political Parties CUPP Ebonyi state Chapter has noted with concern the continuous abuse and unprovoked attacks on opposition political parties in the State.
The body also condemned the use of illegal Executive Orders by the Ebonyi State government to frustrate the 2023 general elections in Ebonyi state by the Ebonyi State Government.
The CUPP State Chairman, Engr. Chinedum Elekwachi disclosed this to Journalists in Abakaliki the State Capital.
Elekwachi said “Cases in point are; The dethronement of the Traditional ruler of Ukawu community, His Royal Highness Japhet Ikegwu because he received the Governorship Candidate of APGA on a courtesy call, The proclamation of December 31, 2022, as the deadline by Governor Umahi for allowing posters of the opposition Political Parties in the state, The comment made by the state Chairman of the traditional ruler’s council who also doubles, HRH Charles Mkpuma on Wednesday 28 December 2022 during the Senatorial flag-off campaign of Governor Umahi that anybody that stands against the Senatorial ambition of the governor will not see next Christmas, The avoidable riot that occurred on 26th December 2022 which claimed innocent lives including that of a police officer in Ekoli Edda that was caused by a physical fight between the House Of Representatives Candidate of APC, Mr. Eni Uduma Chima and the state Chairman of APC who doubles too as security Consultant of Ebubeagu security outfit. The attack on members and supporters of APGA in Ugwulangwu on 24th December 2022 by
identified thugs loyal to the APC as led by the Development centre coordinator of Ohaozara East”
“That all these incidences that happened in Ebonyi state negate the ethos of Constitutional democracy and constitute a threat to a peaceful election in Ebonyi State. Imagine where a traditional ruler seating on a sacred stool is disgraced out of office because he received a candidate from the opposition party. A coalition of United Political Parties have severally condemned this and maintains that there’s no justification whatsoever for that”
The Coalition also worried that the State government is bent on stopping opposition Political Parties from pasting campaign posters and billboards by trying to enforce an obnoxious and discarded law made in 2008 which Governor Umahi himself has observed more in the breach than compliance. He has never had recourse to the moribund law when he campaigned both in 2015 and 2019.
Elekwachi further said “It is deceitful for the State government to have claimed to have fined the APC a sum of five million naira(N5,000,00.00) only for pasting posters and billboards in what the Government referred to as State infrastructure when APC alone has more than two hundred billboard stands in Abakaliki. To us, it is a gimmick to hoodwink people into grandstanding the operation of the malicious regulation of the state government. If there is any law/Regulation to law, the enforcement should be with effect from the date of commencement of the law and must not be selective. Governor Umahi mounted over 4000 political campaign billboards in Ebonyi State in 2015 and 2019 and never sought any approval and never paid any fee to the government. Since it is settled that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands, Umahi should purge himself of his innumerable cases of non -compliance with the so-called outdoor advertisement regulation in the State by paying the arrears of approval fees before asking anyone to pay”.
CUPP Ebonyi state again condemns the restrictions placed by the Governor of Ebonyi State through Executive Order Number 3. Of 2022 on public gatherings and use of public spaces for Campaigns. Such ban tantamount to an ambush on the democratic process and a deliberate attempt to frustrate the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general election in Ebonyi state, “While he is clamping down on other political parties in this respect he has continued to sustain and defend his conversion of the State’s Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre as. APC State Secretariat. This hypocritical and unacceptable and a clear contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022”
“The operation of section 1(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigerian as amended does permit that rights expressly conferred on Ebonyi people by both the Nigerian constitution and Electoral Act 2022 be taken away or encumbered via a malicious Executive order. Governor Umahi is hereby advised to respect the Nigerian constitution which he swore to protect by immediately withdrawing and reversing his offensive, vexatious, undemocratic and provocative Executive Orders”
“Governor Umahi is once more reminded that his body language as the father of State now should be all-embracing, peaceful and disposed to high-level political tolerance. He must ensure that free space is provided for all the political parties in the state.”