Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has accused the Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the March 18 governorship election in the state, Prof. Nnenna Nnannaya-Oti, of favouring Labour Party (LP).
In the final declaration, Nnannaya-Oti said Alex Otti of LP won the poll with a total vote of 175,467, while his closest challenger and candidate of the ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party, Okey Ahiwe, polled 88,529 votes.
While Oti won in 10 local government areas of the state, Ahiwe took six, with the candidate of the Young Peoples Party, Enyinnaya Nwafor, who polled 28,972 votes, winning in one LGA.
When the returning officer returned to Owerri, she narrated how she was allegedly pressurised to rig the election.
The Prof said she chose not to do what was against her conscience on the outcome of the election.
But speaking on Channels Television, the governor said before the polls, he had carried out some background checks on Nnannaya-Oti, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo State, and complained to INEC that she would not be fair in the electoral process.
He, however, said the hierarchy of the electoral commission assured him that there would be no issues.
Ikpeazu said: “This is very unfortunate. I have not met that professor and I am shocked because in the first place, if she is a professor, she doesn’t even have the capacity to manipulate results because these are results that emanated from the units, collected at the wards, collected at the local governments and brought for her to just add them up and announce.
“I’ve not met her before. I’ve not spoken to her. If I have met her, if I have spoken to her, let her come to the public and declare so.
“So, I am shocked that she is making a big noise out of nothing. At some point when I saw the coincidence in name and traced a little bit of her background, I complained to INEC that this lady was not going to be fair, but they assured me that they profiled her. I am still shocked.
“What she has betrayed in the aftermath of her service or stewardship in Abia indicates that fact that she is visibly happy with what she did. Her level of bias in that regard could be placed in favour of a party. She has showed that she has something at the back of mind before she came.”