- Lawyers within the All Progressives Congress have called on the party to ensure that a House of Representatives aspirant is disqualified
- The call was made by the lawyers in a petition dated May 14 and sent to the national secretariat of the ruling party
- According to the lawyers, if Oche is allowed to fly the flag of the party, they wonder what would become the fate of the APC
Bearing in mind the similar incidents in the federal constituency in 2011 and 2015, a group of legal practitioners within the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), has urged the screening committee of the party to disqualify Sunday Oche, over a pending case of forgery standing against him.
Oche, who seeks to represent Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency of Benue state under APC, was arrested last Sunday, May 8, in Otukpo and detained at the Force Headquarters, on the order of the Chief Magistrate Court, Bwari, Abuja.
He has, however, been released on bail by the Nigeria Police.
One Michael Unogwu, the APC candidate for the Federal Constituency had dragged Oche before the court, for forging his signature and private letterhead papers.
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He alleged that Oche criminally wrote a purported letter of withdrawal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after the 2018 primaries.
According to Unogwu, the purported letter caused the electoral umpire to substitute his name with that of Oche.
Details of the letter by the lawyers
In a letter written on behalf of the APC lawyers in the Federal Constituency, Barrister Emmanuel Agada and Barrister Abraham Onoja, the convener and secretary of Enone APC Young Lawyers raised concerns about Oche's actions.
The letter dated May 14, said if Oche is allowed to fly the flag of the party, what befell the federal constituency in previous times when a candidate was withdrawn after winning an election, over a pending forgery case, would repeat itself.
"In the light of all these, we are constrained to urge our great party, to excuse Sunday Oche from the contest, as fielding a candidate with such weighty criminal case will impugn the good image of our party before the good people of Enone, as well as, portend grave danger to our longstanding quest to end the decades of PDP misrepresentation in Enone.
"The 2015 scenario where the Enone people voted Honourable Christopher Adaba Abah (a.k.a Mad Lion) as the member representing the Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency."
"Only for him to be disqualified by the court over certificate forgery, and an unwanted Hassan Saleh foisted on Enone people by the court, is still fresh in the minds of Enone people and the electorates will be jittery to vote a candidate who is enmeshed in another certificate forgery scandal, so as to avoid the painful agony of having their votes set aside by the courts."
The letter added that this uncertainty will affect the confidence of the electorate and negatively affect the party's electoral fortune.
It also said that as a party, the APC cannot afford to be defeated or lose votes that help in keeping it as the dominant political party in the zone, for decades.
The lawyers stressed that they did not wish to imagine what would become the fate of the party, if, after an exhaustive electioneering and criminal prosecution, Oche is found guilty and subsequently sent to jail.
"Since this is a possibility and of high probability, our party must be cautious to avoid the quagmire that might arise from having its candidate, or a representative of Enone, under its platform sent to jail".
"We, therefore, urge you to use your good offices to direct, order or oversee a swift disqualification of Engr. Sunny Oche from being fielded as the candidate of the party in the Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency seat."
Forgery: CSO reacts as police release detained Benue APC Reps aspirant
The release of an aspiring lawmaker by the police had generated a reaction from a civil society organisation.
The National Liberty and Justice Movement (NLJM) urged the police to ensure that the agency is not intimidated by threats from politicians in Benue.
According to the organisation, the law should be allowed to take its course in the case of forgery and perjury against Engineeer Sunday Oche.
Following Wike's directive, police arrest PDP governorship aspirant in Rivers
Dagogo's arrest followed the directive of the governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, who had accused him of sponsoring thugs to attack the PDP secretariat.
Though the PDP lawmaker denied the allegation, he was arrested on Thursday, April 28, when he showed up for guber screening at the secretariat.