•Ekweremadu, Okechukwu differ on exercise
From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu and Fred Itua, Abuja
Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) has declared 17 candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winners, in the chairmanship position of the local government election held last Saturday.
The PDP also won 258 wards, out of the 260 wards in the state where it fielded councillorship candidates as election did not hold in Eke and Ubima wards.
ENSIEC Chairman, Chief Mike Ajogwu (SAN), who announced the results at the commission’s headquarters at Independence Layout, yesterday, said the exercise was free, fair and credible. He denied knowledge of any violence during the poll.
“I’m not aware of any bomb explosion, violence, rigging or malpractices during the election. This election was reliable and credible,” he insisted.
However, APC chieftain and Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr Osita Okechukwu, has described the election as a sham.
He said “the shambolic nature of the local government council election nationwide, exhibited on Saturday, November 4, 2017 in Enugu State, remains a paradox to the quest for devolution of powers from the federal to states.”
Okechukwu insisted the election was marred by late arrival of electoral materials, and other irregularities.
He said the election “makes popular participation at the local government level impossible, hence debasing democracy. To compound matters, all state governments run rubber-stamp state Houses of Assembly.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has described Saturday’s council poll as the best in Nigeria’s recent history.
Ekweremadu commended the state government’s policy of non-interference in the electoral process and also, congratulated the PDP on its victory.
He noted that it is the beginning of payback to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for his developmental strides in the state, in the time of financial crunch and the political peace he restored to the State.
He said: “The poor conduct of local government elections has been of grave concern to Nigerians in the constitution amendment process, but the Saturday council election conducted by ENSIEC is, unarguably, the best in recent years.
“It was one of those rare occasions state electoral umpires inspired confidence in the nation’s electoral process and it added to the democratic credentials of governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the PDP.
“I commend the Ugwuanyi-led administration for ensuring that ENSIEC enjoyed total independence and the necessary resources and also made it possible for the people to troop out en masse, to exercise their franchise, in a secure, free, fair, and credible, democratic process.”
On PDP’s victory, Ekweremadu said: “This is just a prelude to 2019, when the people of Enugu will fully appreciate the Ugwuanyi administration for the equitable socio-economic development in the state, workers welfare, and political peace in the state.”
He enjoined the council chairmen and councilors-elect to key into the development agenda of the PDP administration in the state to ensure that the blessings of democracy trickled down to the people at the grassroots. (The Sun)