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Ex LP guber candidate, Eze Oko, demands prosecution Abure


Former Ebonyi state gubernatorial candidate, Eze Oko, has demanded the prosecution of the party's chairman, Mr. Julius Abure, over allegations of forgery, coercive tactics among others. 

Oko, who was the candidate of the Labour Party in the last gubernatorial election in Ebonyi state, accused Abure of forging documents in a bid to sabotage his candidacy.

Oko, in a press briefing on Wednesday, in Abuja, claimed that Abure had manipulated party documents to prevent him from contesting in the election, and urged the appropriate authorities to investigate the matter and prosecute the party chairman.

The former gubernatorial candidate called on the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, to take immediate action against Abure and ensure that justice is served.

His words: “In late 2022 following the Labour Party's ("LP/the party") Gubernatorial Primaries for Ebonyi State, I emerged as the party's candidate for the seat of Governor of Ebonyi State. However, what should have been a straight forward democratic process was marred by criminality, deceit and manipulation orchestrated by the party's former National Chairman, Mr. Julius Abure ("Abure"/"The Former Chairman").

“Following my emergence as the Gubernatorial flag bearer for Labour Party, the Chairman initiated a scheme to subvert the electoral process and ensured the emergence of Edward Nkwegu Okereke, the owner of Bacelona hotel in Abuja who had participated in the All Progressives Congress ("APC") Gubernatorial primaries in same Ebonyi State, in the same election cycle and lost.

“Mr. Abure, deploying multiple coercive tactics attempted to force me to relinquish my candidacy to Edward Nkwegu Okereke which I outrightly rejected his entreatles and remained steadfast over a sustained step of harassment in my resolve not to step down as the party's legitimate candidate.

“Having failed to convince me, the modus operandi employed by the former Chairman thereafter was nothing short of egregious. Despite my legitimate candidacy and overwhelming support within the party, Abure resorted to forgery and deception to orchestrate my removal as the LP's Gubernatorial candidate. 

“He conspired with Alhaji Umaru Farouk Ibrahim the former Secretary of LP, Mr. Clament Ojukwu the former Organizing Secretary of LP, Mrs. Oluchi Oparah the former Treasurer of LP, and Arc Edward Nkengu Okereke the beneficiary of the forgery and forged my signature on a withdrawal letter falsely indicating my voluntary withdrawal from the electoral race. This forged letter was then submitted to the independent National Electoral Commission ("INEC") to facilitate an illegal substitution of my candidacy.

“I was left in utter shock when I eventually caught wind of the reprehensible actions of the former Chairman. I had considered Abure a man of integrity, being the head of my party. His betrayal of my trust in such an egregious manner left me utterly dejected, more importantly his actions had grievous implications for internal party democracy, free and fair elections and rule of law. Shocked and dismayed by this brazen act of criminality and Abuse of office, and after conferring with party stakeholders, I immediately sought recourse through legal channels to challenge the illegitimate substitution of my candidature. 

“I sued the party and INEC to Federal High Court Abakaliki Ebonyi State. The Judgment came in my favour that I'm the authentic Gubernatorial candidate of LP in Ebonyi State. The judge consequently set aside the illegal substitution primary and directed INEC to publish my name in her portal. Abure and his cohort were not satisfied with this judgment consequently, they appealed it in court of appeal Enugu in Enugu State. 

“Their suit was dismissed. Still not satisfied with the judgment of court of Appeal, they went to supreme Court Abuja. Their suit was further dismissed. Subsequently, I petitioned the Deputy Inspector General of Police ("DIG"), force criminal investigation Division ("FCID") Abuja which triggered a comprehensive police investigation.

“Despite numerous attempts by Abure to evade accountability, the diligent efforts of law enforcement officials led to his eventual apprehension. However, the investigation was not without its significant challenges as the former Chairman consistently attempted to obstruct justice and evade arrest through corrupt and deceitful means after months of rigorous information gathering, cross examinations and forensic analysis, the police investigation conclusively determined that Mr. Abure criminally forged my signature to perpetrate his illegal scheme.

“Throughout the investigation process, I cooperated fully with law enforcement authorities, providing them with all necessary evidence to substantiate my claims of forgery and electoral malpractice. Despite the complexities and obstacles encountered along the way, the FCID remained steadfast in their pursuit of justice, ultimately recommending the prosecution of Abure for his criminal actions.

“The case file has since been forwarded to Federal Ministry of Justice for charges to be instituted but up until now, there has been no movement on the matter. This has begun to agitate my mind as the perception is that the former Chairman can get away with brazen and unbridled criminality which has further emboldened him to become even more reckless, believing that he is a "sacred cow".

“Having received the case file and recommendations from the FCID, I am hereby appealing most passionately to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to ensure justice is served. The events described herein underscore the critical importance of upholding the rule of law and ensuring accountability within our democratic institutions. Those who seek to subvert the electoral process and undermine the integrity of our democracy must be held accountable for their actions.

The prosecution of Abure is not only a matter of justice but also reaffirmation of our commitment to the principles of transparency, fairness and accountability in governance.”

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