Crisis is rocking the Ebonyi State branch of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as some aggrieved party members who are aspiring for membership of the State House of Assembly have petitioned to the party National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, over alleged denial by the state executive to screen them for election.
Leader of the group, Mr Chukwuoji Igodo, said in Abakaliki on Sunday that no fewer than 25 aspirants were allegedly denied screening by the Screening Committee.
He added that efforts made by the aspirants to draw the attention of the state Chairman of APC, Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha, to their plights proved unsuccessful.
He further alleged that there was an ochestrated ploy by the state leadership of the party to deny some members opportunity to participate in the 2023 general elections.
He explained that their ordeal started when the party announced sales of nomination and expression of interest forms for the House of Assembly.
He alleged that the party denied selling nomination and expression of interest forms to them forcing them to purchase their forms in Abuja.
He said: “The problem started when the party announced sales of forms for House of Assembly and we approached the party to purchase our forms here in the state and they didn’t sell any form to us.
“So, we approached Abuja and bought our forms from there which is allowed by the party rules, we filled our forms there and submitted.
“We presented ourselves for the screening which held on Saturday but nobody from the screening committee attended to us nor addressed us; till now we have not been screened and nobody is telling us anything.”
He said that the party was not fair to the affected aspirants.
“We have been told that they will only respond to the 24 aspirants the party sold the forms to which is very unfair to us.
“We are saying that the chairman is allowing himself to a particular set of people in the party instead of being the chairman for everybody.
“We also want the world to know that the party in Ebonyi is sabotaging the efforts of the national leadership and it’s a great betrayal to some of us that have protected and promoted the government.
“We therefore appeal to the national secretariat to listen to us and send special screening panal to screen us; send screening panal for the primaries and also send a special panal for the local government congresses that will soon hold.”
The aspirants condemned the outrageous fees demanded for the screening of aspirants in the state which they noted were not part of party’s requirements for the screening exercise.
“For some of us, we are told that we have to pay N200, 000 as internally generated revenue; N200, 000 for local government clearance and another N500, 000 for state clearance; this is aside the N2 million the party charges for her form.
“And we are saying that these fees are not part of the checklists the party gave to us at the purchase of our forms; we are saying that the national leadership should look into what is happening in Ebonyi,” Igodo said.
The aspirants said the development could lead to crisis that might affect the party’s chances in the 2023 general elections.
The group therefore called on the national leadership to urgently intervene to stave off looming crisis in Ebonyi APC.
Meanwhile, Okoro-Emegha in a swift reaction, said that the screening committee was yet to be inaugurated by the national secretariat.
“The screening committee is yet to be inaugurated hence the screening exercise could not commence in Ebonyi as scheduled,” Okoro-Emegha said.
He added that the party believed in equity, fairness and justice, saying that the party would not deny genuine aspirants from being screened.
He urged the aspirants to work with the party in unity to achieve victory in the coming elections.
“Instead of creating problem and cause disunity in the party, they should rather become agents of unity and work to make our party achieve victory in 2023.
“No aspirant who is qualified to be screened that will be left out,” he said.