Ruling party, APC disqualifies Benue House of Reps aspirant, Oche, 3 others

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) Appeal Panel has disqualified Mr. Sunday Oche and three others from participating in the party’s primaries scheduled for Friday, May 27, 2022.

This comes after the receipt of many petitions against 65 aspirants for the House of Representatives on the platform of the ruling party.

This was contained in the report of the 3-man appeal panel made up of chieftains of the party, and dated May 20, 2022.

It was observed that the 19-page report submitted to the national chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, through the office of the national organising secretary, was signed by Chief Chinedu Okonkwo, chairman; Barr. Kate Nnamani, secretary and Hon. Robinson Uwak, member of the appeal panel.

According to the report, the affected aspirants were disqualified based on various offences and in line with the party’s guidelines and extant laws.

Mr. Oche, who seeks to represent Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency of Benue State, was disqualified due to a pending criminal case against him before the Magistrate Court in Bwari, bordering on forgery, perjury and conspiracy.

“Having gone through the petition and in view of the weighty allegations therein and exhibits attached, this Committee made frantic efforts to reach out to the respondent (Mr. Oche Sunday Oche) through numerous phone calls to make himself available before the Committee to clarify the veracity of the said allegations, to no avail,” the report reads in part.

The Committee also said it was able to establish that a criminal trial of Mr. Oche was ongoing at the Magistrate Court, Bwari with suit number CR/23/2022.

It, therefore, frowned on the failure of the aspirant to disclose the pending criminal case while filing in his nomination forms.

The Committee resolved that “Mr. Oche Sunday Oche’s failure to disclose the pending criminal trial against him while filing his nomination form is a fraudulent act and a total failure of an integrity test expected of any leader seeking to lead the party at any level. Worst still, it is an unpardonable breach of the party’s guidelines and instructions which is capable of negatively affecting the party’s victory in the forthcoming election”.

“That the ongoing criminal trial against Mr. Oche Sunday Oche is one capable of securing him a 14-year imprisonment if found guilty and the party cannot be seen to be taking such a costly risk,” it added.

Also, Pascal Obi Chigozie, who seeks to represent Ideato North/South Federal Constituency of Imo State, was disqualified for engaging in anti-party activities.

The Committee said the petitions from the party’s national vice chairman (South East), Dr. Ijeomah Arodiogbu and two other members of the APC alluded to the fact that the aspirant had earlier presented himself before the screening committee of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on April 29, 2022.

Another House of Reps aspirant, Hon. Archibong Bassey Joseph from Cross River, was said to have been disqualified, following a petition from his brother, Elder Joseph Bassey, stating that he was the valid owner of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination result submitted by the aspirant.

According to Joseph Bassey, his brother, Archibong Bassey did not have his express permission to use it.

Hon. Efiong Robinson Edumoh from Akwa Ibom, on the other hand, was disqualified by the appeal panel due to “discrepancy in the identity of the aspirant”.

Edumoh was said to have filled ‘Edumoh, Robinson Effiong’ in the expression of interest and nomination forms, whereas, the name appearing on his voter card reads ‘Abianga, Robinson Effiong’.

The Committee, while thanking the party leadership for providing the opportunity to serve, also concluded by appealing to members, especially the affected aspirants, “to accept this report as this was done with (a) clear mind and no fear or favour with no intentions of victimising anybody. Rather, it was done to uphold the value we share in our dear party”.