The Labour Party (LP) Candidate for Abia South Senatorial District in the just-concluded February 25 National Assembly elections, Chinedu Onyeizu, on Monday, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct rerun elections in over 100 polling units in the district where he claimed voting didn’t occur.
Onyeizu also alleged that the returning officer for the election, Prof Georgina Ugwuanyi declared the incumbent Senator for the district, Enyinnaya Abaribe the winner of the poll after receiving instructions from Abuja. The LP candidate said this was already after the returning officer declared the election inconclusive.
Abaribe, who was deputy governor of Abia State from 1999 to 2003, is said to be one of the National Assembly landlords; he has been representing Abia South in the red chamber since 2007.
Abaribe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was declared winner in Aba on Tuesday having polled a total of 49,693 votes to defeat his closest rivals – Onyeizu, who got 43,903 votes while Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 28,422 votes.
However, the LP candidate on Monday described the election in Abia South as the “worst form of travesty” by the electoral umpire.
“We are looking at a scenario where I won my election as the candidate of the Labour Party in Abia South and then on Tuesday when the election results were just being collated, the INEC Returning Officer for Abia South Senatorial Zone declared the election inconclusive because over 108 polling units in my stronghold didn’t experience any form of election,” Onyeizu said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily breakfast programme.
“Every collation officer accepted the position of INEC. Only for her (Ugwuanyi) to return after five hours with over five trucks loaded with military personnel and mobile police to announce a winner. We have videos on this.
“She said on video that she got instructions from Abuja to return to the zonal collation office and declare Senator Abaribe as the winner of an inconclusive election.
“We are curious to understand what changed after five hours of her declaring the election inconclusive.”
The LP candidate said the returning officer disenfranchised the votes of the over 40,000 registered voters who are supposed to vote in over 108 polling units in his strongholds.
“As a candidate, I am rejecting those declarations and I am calling on INEC, I am calling on the INEC Chairman, Professor (Mahmood) Yakubu to do the right thing. There is no order that could come from Abuja that is above constitutional provisions which are clear in the Electoral Act.
“If the difference between the declared winner and the first runner-up is less than the total number of registered voters with PVCs, you don’t just wake up and declare one of the candidates as the winner,” he said.
He demanded a rerun in areas like Aba North and Aba South where voters have collected their PVCs and are willing to vote. “I am asking for a rerun or conduct of supplementary election in these areas so that we will all have a clear explanation on whoever emerges a winner,” he said.
Onyeizu said polling unit results were being collated already and these will be tendered before the tribunal.