With about 100 days to the 2023 general elections, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), has alleged that some politicians in Abia State in the South-East region of Nigeria were buying the electorates’ Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), for the sum of N5,000.
The APGA Chairman, Augustine Ehiemere, made the allegation while unveiling the party’s Campaign Council in Umuahia, Abia State capital.
Ehiemere claimed that some politicians were desperately going about collecting the pin numbers in the electorates’ PVCs under the pretence of giving them empowerment.
The APGA Chairman said that “Some greedy politicians go about pretending to be empowering people by sharing N5000 to unsuspecting voters and collecting the pin number in their PVCs. Abians should resist them.
“This is nothing but an attempt to rig the 2023 elections. INEC and security agencies should rise to the occasion.”
Citing the case of the recent arrest of APGA House of Assembly candidate for Obingwa, Chikezie Nwosu, at a filling station where he was distributing free petrol to motorists, he called on Nigerian security agencies in the state to caution their officers and men against being used by the government in power to intimidate and harass members of the opposition.
Ehiemere warned that “We wish to state without equivocations that APGA, as a party, will no longer tolerate any further intimidation by anybody.
“Heads of security agencies in Abia should caution their field officers against being used as tools to suppress the opposition.
“We won’t accept a repeat of the recent intimidation of our candidate who was whisked away by security agents while distributing free petrol to motorists at a petrol station in Aba.
“They arrested him alongside others that were with him. It took the intervention of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe for those arrested to be released. We won’t tolerate this rascality and impunity again.”
He further called for a united action against any attempt to muzzle the opposition in the State, saying, “We call on the opposition parties in the state to rise in unison and vigorously resist the despotic tendencies of the ruling party. We also call on the Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, to rise to the occasion.
“All these intimidation, destruction of billboards of opposition candidates, denying opposition access to public places and fabrication of petitions to incriminate key opposition members must stop.”
The APGA boss also said that but for the non-violent posture of his members “as a disciplined political party, there would have been bloodshed when recently, thugs and agents of the ruling party attempted to deface APGA campaign office at Okpara Square Umuahia.”
Ehiemere therefore challenged heads of security agencies to prove their political neutrality by stopping agents of the ruling party from further provocations against the opposition.
He noted that “Recently the State Director of DSS and Commissioner of Police summoned all chairmen and secretaries of political parties and told us to promote peace and avoid politics of bitterness.
“Now the security agencies should tell the party in power to stop denying opposition parties access to public facilities during their campaigns. The party in power should rein in their agents from such action that could cause a crisis in the state.
“We have not and will not take laws into our hands because we don’t believe in violence. But our gentleness should not be taken for timidity. We won’t take it kindly again if any attempt is made to deface billboards of our candidates.”