From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in Kogi have called for the immediate removal of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. James Apam.
The state leaderships of the two groups made the call on Thursday in Lokoja during a joint press conference attended by virtually all chairmen of registered political parties in the state.
Their spokesman, Mr. Frank Kato, of the Independent Democratic Party (IDP), called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy another person of impeccable record and good character to replace Apam.
Kato accused Apam of progressively and consistently favouring the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) , saying that he had been undermining other parties in the state.
He said that the enthusiasm, trust and hope with which Apam was received into the state by the groups were no longer there, urging INEC to redeploy him immediately.
” The REC had his second office in Government House, where he frequently hibernated to the utter disregard of decorum, calling and tenets of the office he occupied as an unbiased umpire and against public perception.
“The current REC has set a very gloomy standard, by being the first Kogi State REC to be publicly smeared with the accusation of collection of huge sums of money as bribe from the state government to tinker with electoral processes in favour of APC candidates.
” All the recent elections in the state were massively rigged in unguarded public glare by thugs of the ruling party in uniforms without any attempted investigations,” he alleged.
Our Correspondent reports that the IPAC and CNPP allegations are coming at a time preparations for the governorship election scheduled to hold in the state on Nov. 16 are in top gear.
However, in a swift reaction, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Lokoja denied the allegations against the REC.
Alhaji Ahmed Bagudu-Biambo, Head, Voter Education and Publicity in the office, described the allegations as unfounded and baseless.
Bagudu-Biambo said that those not pleased with the outcomes of the last general elections were already at the various election petition tribunals, saying that the REC had not been indicted till date.
He said the group’s sole aim was to tarnish the image of the REC, urging the public to ignore them.