- – It’s Not Bribe; Just Appreciation, Says Speaker
By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Rita Maduagwu, and 22 other members of the House recently visited the State Executive Committee of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, with a big cow and N4 million, asking it to give them a preferential consideration in the nomination of candidates for the 2019 general elections in the state.
The speaker told members of state executive that 23 out of the 30 members of the legislature who were either seeking nomination to go to the House of Representatives or return to the state Assembly on the party’s platform, had contributed money to buy the cow, and contributed N4million which they had brought to them as “kola.”
She said that the party should give them preferential consideration in the nomination of candidates for the election, given their legislative experience and the need to ensure that a majority of the party candidates returned to the house to avert a situation where the party would be in the minority and Governor Willie Obiano would find it difficult to relate cordially with the members.
Maduagwu noted that although they had come to tell the state working committee that they wanted to contest for second term or higher elective positions as the case may be, she regretted that they had not been coming to rub minds with the exco members in nearly four years of winning elections and had to do so now that elections were around the corner.
The speaker asked for the forgiveness of the party executive in the state, as she blamed their inability to regularly come on oversight.
She said that they needed to help the party grow and cover other states, predicting that after the 2019 general elections, APGA would have won at least five states of the federation.
In his response, the state chairman of APGA, Chief Norbert Obi, expressed regret that the members of the State Assembly in APGA regalia turned their backs against the party on whose ladder they climbed to the top until it was time for fresh nominations for elective positions. He said that their action left a bad precedence in the party.
He reiterated that the party would provide a level playing ground for all aspirants during the primaries and asked them to go back to their constituencies and work very hard to gain the confidence of their constituents.
He also said that a sitting member who was jittery over his re-election should know that he was not doing well, adding humorously that there were no shylocks in the party who would twist the people’s arm to give nomination to an aspirant against their wish.
He also noted that in the Aguata Local Government Area of the state alone, about 27 aspirants had indicated interest to vie for the tickets of the two state constituencies in the area, stating that the party would give all a level playing field.
However, when journalists reached the speaker on the phone for confirmation if she and her colleagues truly brought the live cow and cash as bribe to enable them to get tickets without going through primary elections, she denied it.
She said, ‘It was just appreciation to the state exco of the party. We even told them so; so it is not a bribe in anyway.