FROM CHUKS ONUOHA, UMUAHIA
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State yesterday called on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, to sustain the cancellation of the results from the three Local Government Areas of Obingwa, Osisioma and Isialangwa North, by the Returning Officer, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, and arrange a re-run. The party insisted that any attempt to reverse the cancellation, due to the alleged pressure of Governor Theodore Orji would dent the image of the commission irretrievably.
Speaking to newsmen in company of other party officials, APGA’s National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh and the governorship candidate, Dr Alex Otti, said this is the decision of the party over the election which was declared inconclusive.
Umeh condemned what happened during the governorship election, stating that it was clearly won by Dr Otti.
“Sadly on Sunday, when the result was being collated, agents of darkness went to work to truncate the obvious victory which our party had recorded in that election,” Umeh said.
He described as bizarre the development in three council areas, stating that the results posted had several irregularities, malpractices and that they did not comply with INEC rules, because Card Readers were not used to accredit voters
Tracing the history of what transpired, Umeh said: “In Obingwa LGA, the PDP candidate was said to have scored 82,240 votes from one local government where the total number of registered voters stood at 98,253, he scored 82, 240, with APGA credited with 1, 952 votes. In Osisioma LGA, the Collation Officer announced that total number of registered voters there stood at 62, 340, even when the correct figure is 82, 862 registered voters, that notwithstanding, PDP was credited with 42, 122 votes and APGA, 1, 017 votes. In Isiangwa North LGA, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was credited with 19798 votes against APGA’s 6, 853 votes.
Umeh said because of abundant evidence and report of non-conduct of election in these three local government areas, and the fact that a council chairman was caught with election materials by soldiers in Obingwa was enough reason to cancel the results.
“As the Returning Officer wanted to proceed with collation of results and entertainment of protests in some other outstanding local government areas, a state government official, a senator and another PDP chieftain stormed the collation centre, got into the hall and invited the REC for a chart upstairs. These things were done in public glare before the media and their crew. When they went upstairs and had a long discussion, the other members of the entourage also went upstairs and the Returning Officer later went upsatirs to join them. When they left, the Returning Officer later came back to his duty post and announced a reversal of the cancellations of the elections in the three areas he had justifiably cancelled earlier,” he said.