The Peoples Democratic Party in Abia State has rejected the result of Senatorial election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Abia North Senatorial Zone on Saturday, 23rd February, 2019.
In an emergency meeting of the State Working Committee of the PartY presided over by the Chairman of the Party in the State, Sir Johnson Onuigbo, the party said “after a critical review of the election, including unlawful manipulations and unjustifiable cancellations, concluded that, at best, the election was inconclusive and should be so declared by INEC”.
The party said, Rule 33(e) of INEC Regulations and Guidelines For The Conduct Of Elections, 2019, stipulates that where the number of cancelled votes outnumber the difference in vote of a ‘leading candidate’, such election shall be deemed to be inconclusive.
According to the State Chairman, Chief Johnson Onuigbo said “From what the Independent National Electoral Commission have as result of Abia-North senatorial election, the gap between the Senatorial Candidate of All Progressives Congress, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, and the Candidate of our Party; Distinguished Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, is only ten thousand and four hundred votes”.
“On the other hand, votes cancelled in Arochukwu and Nkporo alone amount to more than thirty-eight thousand”.
“By the aforesaid Rule 33(e) of INEC Regulations and Guidelines, Saturday’s senatorial election in Abia-North should have been declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission because the margin of lead between the leading candidates which is 10,400 (ten thousand four hundred) is less than the cancelled votes of over 38,000 ( thirty eight thousand)” .
“Our Party; therefore, rejects the result of Abia-North senatorial election and vehemently demands that INEC complies with extant electoral guidelines by declaring the election inconclusive and consequently fix a date to conclude the election. Our stand is not strange as it has been done in the Ondo South Senatorial Election which INEC declared inconclusive.”
Meanwhile, the Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the February 23 senatorial poll in Abia North, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to reschedule a re-run election in the zone.
Ohuabunwa insisted that the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu was never declared winner of the poll contrary to his claims and some media reports sponsored by Kalu.
The senator said the Returning Officer did not declare anybody winner of the contest as the total number of cancelled votes was far bigger than the margin of victory.
“Announcing Kalu winner of Abia North Senatorial contest is a joke taken too far”, Ohuabunwa told Daily Trust in Abia.
“The total number of canceled votes is 76,889, while the margin of victory is 10,402.
“The difference between margin of victory and canceled votes is 66,487. Can INEC validly declare a winner of that poll? He queried.
Ohuabunwa said the Returning Officer merely announced figures and number of votes secured by each candidate but never declared Kalu winner.
He alleged that Kalu out of desperation and quest for power inflated figures in his favour , while demanding the cancellation of the results of the polls manipulated by Kalu.
“Bende LGA result did not emanate from the polling units as no results were declared at that level.
“All results in Bende should have been canceled but the Returning Officer was forced at gunpoint to declare the result for House of Representatives even when he noted 7,601 canceled votes which was more than the margin of 3,547 and he fled afterwards to Umuahia where he issued a statement calling for the cancellation of what he declared.
“Nkporo in Ohafia LGA recorded 21,360 canceled votes in 32 units of two Wards; precisely Ndi Elu – 15 and Ndi Agbo – 17.
“Arochukwu (Senator Mao’s home LGA) recorded 31,284 canceled votes with 72 of 149 Polling Units canceled.
“Elections were canceled at polling units inside Abia State University, Uturu in Isuikwuato LGA with about 19,563 registered voters disenfranchised. That was more than the margin of victory of 3,708 votes recorded for the LGA.”
Ohuabunwa urged members of the public not to be deceived by Kalu’s claim that he was returned at the poll, insisting that INEC must conduct a re-run.
However, when contacted, the Head, INEC Voter Education & Publicity, Achibie Chigozie, said he was not in a position to say whether or not result was declared.
He said Ohuabunwa knew where to direct his grievances.