The Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC), says it disqualified 73 candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the November 4 council polls in the state because they did not have tax clearance certificates.
The Chairman of ENSIEC, Mike Ajogwu (SAN), disclosed this in Enugu on Thursday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to Mr. Ajogwu, the APC candidates were disqualified because they did not possess true and certified copies tax clearance certificates for three years.
He said that the commission had informed the APC leadership to write officially as well as come with some of the affected candidates to look into the matter.
“As an unbiased umpire, ENSIEC is open to receiving genuine complaint and make amend where needs be.
“We want to create a level playing field for all the candidates irrespective of party affiliation.
“We try as much as possible to carry everyone along. ENSIEC must stick to its rules in order to be fair to all as the rules are well-known to all in the game,’’ he said.
The ENSIEC boss, however, said he was not happy with the way the APC chairman was going about accusing him for screening his candidates out of the election race.
Earlier, during the Police, Political parties and ENSIEC parley, the state Chairman of APC, Ben Nwoye, accused the ENSIEC boss for `intentionally’ denying 73 candidates of the party the right to contest in the election.
Mr. Nwoye said that it was unfair that none of the candidates of the PDP was screened out of the contest.
“All the 17 chairmanship and 261 councillorship candidates presented by the PDP scaled through the screening and given clean bill of approval.
“I appeal to the commissioner of police to use his good office to appeal to ENSIEC boss to do the right thing.
“In every democracy there must be opposition and without opposition there is no democracy.
“We are making this appeal since most of our party faithful in the villages are already annoyed that the commission screened out their popular candidates.
“Thus, ENSIEC is creating leeway for some PDP candidates to be returned unopposed in the election,’’ he said.
Mr. Nwoye, however, assured that APC members and followers would remain peaceful even in the face of perceived provocation.