By Ovat Abeng
One of the aspirants for the November 6 Governorship election in Anambra State, under the platform of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Dr. Mathias Ichoku has debunked the misinformation peddled by some media outfits that he planned to sue NRM leadership to Okija shrine if they fail to restore him as the candidate of the party.
Dr Ichoku said though the leadership of NRM defrauded him and stole his mandate, but as a Christian, he would only take legal and legitimate actions to ensure restoration of his mandate as the authentic candidate of National Rescue Movement (NRM).
Ichoku while addressing newsmen in Awka, on Monday, lamented how he was lured into the party and had spent over one million in purchase of the Expression of Interest and Nomination form.
According to him, “National Rescue Mission is a political party I joined to vie for Governorship in Anambra State. The day they announced for primary, on 30th June, I noticed things were going wrongly. There were irregularities, manipulation and intrigues. Later the election was cancelled.
“From that day I didn’t hear from the party leadership anymore. I was not treated fairly, especially the National Publicity Secretary, Barr Obidike, who scuttled the chances of the party from producing a vibrant Governorship candidate, as its flag bearer.
“The problem emanated at what they called 11th hour. I was supposed to be the sole candidate of the party and I was working towards that direction with the State Chairman of the party. I was funding virtually everything, both the hotel bills, and other logistics for the progress of the party.
“All of a sudden, just few hours to the primary, the party included a woman to contest with me. I don’t know the woman and I know the party Chairman did not know her.
“At first, we didn’t know the woman was an aspirant too. We only noticed that when the delegate list was changed to accommodate the team of the woman. None of my team names were in the delegates’ list.
“It is a manifestation of degeneration of our political system. How can someone be added to the list, just few hours to primary, because of financial Inducements, as against people who had been working tirelessly for the party.
“I became a member 6 months ago, building structures for the party, to establish the party, with lofty ideology. I never knew things will turn out this way. They are acting on impunity. The party has not reached out to me in any manner.
“There is no relationship between politics and shrine. I don’t subscribe to shrine. I am a Christian and I believe in legal process. I will only go to court to seek redress. I was illegally disqualified.
“I am aggrieved and yet to hear from the party. I can’t wait forever for them to reach me, I have mapped out measures in line with the constitution and Electoral Act, not through shrine. I want my mandate back. I don’t believe in anarchy or threat or disunity, but a legitimate process of settling bills.”
The Director General of Ichoku Campaign Office, Prince Ikeogu expressed disappointment on the process, and described it as rape on democracy.
Prince Ikeogu who condemned the impunity and disrespect to internal democracy, called on the INEC and various Civil Organizations who were present on the day of primary, to speak out and correct the nation’s electoral process, for the betterment of Nigeria.
Others who also spoke include the Coordinator, Civil Society group, Raymond Chike Anenmuo, the spokesperson, Social Liberation Vanguard, Nonso Ogunoadimma, Spokesperson Initiative for Human Development and Poverty Reduction, Mr Obinna Okeke called for total reformation of political system to promote integrity and transparency in Nigeria.