By AnchorNews | 07 Jan, 2023 04:38:41pm | 295
By Damian Ogbodo
Emerging developments from the camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Enugu State have indicated palpable fear, confusion and anxiety as a group of angry lawyers in the state within the APC fold under the aegis of Enugu Lawyers for Good Governance and Transparency has called for the immediate arrest, disqualification and prosecution of the APC governorship candidate, Engr. Uchenna Nnaji, his running mate, Robert Ogbonna Ngwu, Barr. George Ogara and other accomplices over what the group described as criminal impersonation.
The group, made up of senior lawyers in the legal profession, in a petition dated 7th January, 2023, titled; “Criminal Impersonation, Conspiracy, Forgery and Extant Fraud by Enugu APC Governorship Candidate and Others: Need for Immediate Arrest, Disqualification and Prosecution”, addressed to the inspector general of police, and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), raised an alarm over the massive fraud and illegalities going in the Enugu APC, threatening to institute an action in the court if the agencies saddled with the responsibilities to prevent these frauds refuse to act.
Citing news report from the Sahara Reporters dated 5th January, which revealed that the APC was brazenly contravening the provisions of the electoral law, the constitution and the nation’s penal codes by continuously presenting Mr George T. Ogara as Nnaji’s running mate against Mr. Robert Ogbonna Ngwu, who is the authentic candidate recognized by the law and the INEC, the APC card carrying lawyers urged the Nigeria Police and the INEC to wake up to their constitutional duties of safeguarding democracy and preventing fraud, scam, impersonation, and other criminal acts that are antithetical and threatening to democracy in Nigeria.
The group which wondered why the APC had kept quiet over 48 hours after the crime was made public by some mainstream newspapers and social media platforms including the SaharaReporters, vowed to exhaust all available legal means known to the law to protect the constitution and the rights of Nigerians, particularly, Enugu people to elect their next leaders from popular ballots instead of those imposed on them through the Governor Hope Uzodimma-led administration in Imo State.
“We read with shock the mind-blowing, staggering and brazen infraction of the letters of our laws by those who have been trailing the same path akin to what happened in Imo State, who believe Nigeria is a country of anything goes, even up to breaching the constitution, without consequences. For the record, Enugu State is not Imo State. Nobody can foist unknown and illegal candidates on the state. We have been worried over this issue in our party. We reached out to our party leaders to address this illegality without result.
“The Inspector General of Police, the INEC and other law enforcement agencies must not shy away from this criminal act. What some bad elements in the APC have done is tantamount to walking illegality. They cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. The government of APC under Ugochukwu Agballah has gained notoriety in subverting the law. However, this one will not stand.
“We are calling on the IGP and the INEC to immediately, as a matter of fact and urgency, arrest, disqualify and prosecute Mr. Uchenna Nnaji, Mr. Robert Ogbonna Ngwu, Barrister George Ogara, Barrister Ugochukwu Agballah and others who are accomplices in these criminal impersonation, forgery, fraud and conspiracy. What these people had done was to set aside the provisions of the law and impose their whims and caprices on our political party.
“For the avoidance of doubt, section 516 of the criminal code is emphatic and unambiguous on the consequences of the offence of conspiracy to perpetuate impersonation. By presenting George Ogara as the Enugu State deputy governorship candidate of the APC instead of Robert Ogbonna Ngwu who is duly recognized by the law, the offence of conspiracy is complete and the act envisions 7 years imprisonment for each of the felons.
“Sections 467 and 468 go further to buttress the implication of fraudulently altering public documents to deceive the public and make them appear genuine. This attracts 3 years imprisonment on conviction. It has also come to our notice that Ugochukwu Agballah, Uchenna Nnaji and a few bad eggs in our party have been pestering and prevailing on INEC officials to substitute the names outside the time stipulated by the Electoral Act. No amount of bribes and financial inducements will alter the law. We are watching the INEC with keen interest.
“On impersonation, sections 486 and 487 of the code actively provide the damming consequences for impersonation. Nigeria is not a lawless society and we cannot allow lawlessness, anarchy and chaos to dictate our socio-political relations. The law must not be bent for some people who feel they are above the law. The IGP and the INEC must use these syndicates to set an example for others,” part of the petition reads.
When our correspondent contacted the State APC Publicity Secretary, Hon. Charles-Solo Ako to react to the petition, he simply texted; “I will get back to you. We are on the matter. We’re reaching out to the aggrieved lawyers to withdraw their petition and come to a roundtable. We are open to discussion, and this is not the time to call for the disqualification of any candidate in our party. APC will come out of this conundrum soon.”
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