By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
Ahead of the October 31st senatorial bye-election for the vacant Imo North Senatorial seat, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Thursday, chided the All Progressives Congress, APC over the alleged failure of its candidate, Ibezim Frank to produce his school certificates.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Emmanuel Onwubiko, national coordinator of the association said failure to produce certified true copies of academic credentials by Frank would throw up issues of integrity and character.
According to Onwubiko, the senatorial district has always been engulfed in one crisis or the other, adding that as a result, the zone has not been able to enjoy democracy dividends like its counterparts in other parts of the state.
“We don’t even care about whoever is the winner of the primaries of any political party. Our interest is that the person that the APC presented to the people of Imo state as the winner of that primary of their political party has not sufficiently showed the people his certificates.
“He is having certificate issue. He has not defended the allegation that he has no proven record of any academic credential.
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“We are interested because, in the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, we are very proud of one of the records we achieved concerning the investigation that took place as it concerned one of the Senior Special Assistants to the President on Corruption,” he said.
He recalled that while the unnamed ex-presidential aide was busy exposing others for corruption; HURIWA found out that he was not the owner of the credentials with which he successfully procured admission to the university to study Law.
He noted that the effort of HURIWA eventually led to the removal of the aide, following intense pressure from concerned members of the public.
“We say it is totally unacceptable for a major political party like the APC to produce a candidate that is not qualified to contest for the office,” he added
HURIWA condemned the alleged role of the Governor Hope Uzodinma and the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, in the emergence of Frank, saying, “In the first place, there is massive evidence to show that the person who won that primary is Ifeanyi Ararume from verifiable records because they said he was among those who went to the field to participate, but the governor sat at Douglas House and conjured a report and his preferred candidate was announced as the winner of that primary.
“And these are issues that the man has not been able to explain to Nigerians.
“Our concern is this: We want to challenge him to show Nigerians, the people of Okigwe and the human rights community who are also stakeholders in the democratic process we practice in Nigeria that he (Frank) is qualified.
“We will not just keep quiet and allow another question of lack of proper certificate to continue to be the dominant topic of discussion in Nigeria. By now, we should have outgrown that stage.
“We do not think that the APC should continue to have questions of producing people to stand for political offices when they are not fit and proper.”
The association, therefore, called on the candidate to waste no time anymore in producing his certificates to justify his quest for the plum seat.
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