No fewer than 278 women’s rights groups and civil society organizations on Sunday condemned the alleged threat to the life of a senatorial candidate under the All Progressives Congress, Ebonyi South senatorial zone, Ann Agomeze, The PUNCH reports.

Agomeze, the main opponent of Ebonyi Governor David Umahi, noted in an exclusive interview with Sunday PUNCH that her life had been under “threats and intimidation” since the contest for the seat began.

However, the All Progressive Congress in the state had announced her suspension.

The president of the state, Stanley Okoro-Emegha, had accused Agomeze of anti-party activities.

But in a statement signed on behalf of all women’s groups by the Convener of Womenifesto, Abiola Akintoye-Afolabi, and made available to our correspondent on Sunday, the groups called on the leadership of the APC to investigate the situation.

“We, the undersigned, of the Feminist Womanifesto Group, strongly condemn the unjust expulsion, intimidation, oppression, life-threatening and victimization of Ann Agomeze, who has decided to serve her constituency as the APC senatorial candidate for Ebonyi South Zone.

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“Every citizen of Nigeria has the right to choose and be elected to any of the elective positions, it is not the exclusive domain of a select few or gender. Women and girls in Nigeria continue to face an unprecedented range of political participation challenges. Despite pressure from women’s groups, coalitions and civil society organizations in Nigeria to remove systematic barriers that prevent women from equal participation in political leadership, the historic event that led to the ouster of the APC senatorial candidate, Ms. Ann-Agomeze, is evidence of growing opposition to hard-won gains for women’s political rights.

The ruling APC in the state on Monday, August 15, ordered the immediate arrest of the Ebonyi South senatorial candidate, Ms. Ann-Agomeze for alleged anti-party and perjury against the party in the state, following the baseless accusations of her senatorial rival , Governor David Umahi and his party supporters, pointing to the widespread gender inequality that persists and the current imbalance in political power.

“The eviction of Ann-Agomeze by the APC leadership without due process is unconstitutional, it reinforces patriarchy and it depicts the deliberate exclusion of women from political participation, even as the matter between the two parties, Governor David Umahi, and Ann -Agomeze is at the appeals court. This points to a high level of impunity by the leadership of the Ebonyi South APC party, and a lack of will on the part of the APC to respect the national gender policy 35% affirmative action, the INEC gender policy and the APC party manifesto on affirmative action. .

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“The alleged suspension/expulsion has contemptuously defamed Ms Agomeze with the intent of blackmailing her into withdrawing from the senatorial race, which is unacceptable, unethical and unjust. There have been incessant threats to her life which is a criminal act. The Nigerian Constitution emphasizes inclusiveness and autonomy as a way to ensure that the benefits of national citizenship are shared equally across Nigeria’s complex spectrum of diversity. The governor was a chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, he was a deputy governor and now a governor. He aspired to become the president of this country, Nigeria. While Agomeze aspired to be the senator of Ebonyi South Senatorial Zone.

These are two different ambitions and according to the provisions of our 2022 electoral law, one cannot sign two nomination forms in the same election year. However, when the governor failed in his bid for president, he resorted to blackmail, intimidation and victimization, despite the Federal Supreme Court ruling in Abakaliki recognizing Ann Agomeze as the candidate.

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“We therefore call on the APC’s political leadership in Ebonyi State, including the National Chairman and other executive members at all levels of the APC, and all other relevant actors to take immediate measures – in addition to her reinstatement of the suspension/expulsion , to publicly apologize for the media publications, ensure her candidacy is secured and end all forms of threat to her life, intimidation, slander and violence against Ann-Agomeze.”

The groups also called for an overturn of Agomeze’s suspension.

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