The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has ordered the suspension of further collation of last Saturday’s governorship election results in some parts of Abia and Enugu states.
The commission noted that its office in Obingwa local government area was invaded by thugs Sunday 19th March 2023 and “our officials held hostage in relation to the collation of results from the Local Government Area.”
The commission also said reports from Enugu state called for a review of the results for the governorship election from the two outstanding local government areas of Nsukka and Nkanu East.
This was contained in a statement Monday in Abuja by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee Barrister Festus Okoye.
The statement reads: “The Commission met today, Monday 20th March 2023 and reviewed the conduct of the Governorship and State Assembly elections held nationwide on Saturday 18th March 2023.
“Arising from the meeting, the Commission took the decision to suspend forthwith further collation of the governorship election results in some parts of Abia and Enugu states.
“It will be recalled that our office in Obingwa Local Government Area was invaded by thugs yesterday Sunday, 19th March, 2023 and our officials held hostage in relation to the collation of results from the Local Government Area.
“Similarly, reports from Enugu State call for a review of the results for the Governorship election from the two outstanding Local Government Areas of Nsukka and Nkanu East.
“Consequently, the Commission hereby suspends the collation of results in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State and the two outstanding Local Government Areas of Enugu State which are yet to be collated. A review will be undertaken immediately before the process is concluded.
“We appeal for the understanding and patience of voters, parties and candidates in the affected states.”
APC raises the alarm on Adamawa
In a related development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has raised the alarm over alleged plot to falsify the results of the governorship election conducted in Adamawa state.
APC National Publicity Secretary Felix Morka alleged this in a statement Monday in Abuja.
He said there was “undue pressure by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to disrupt final collation and announcement of the result of the governorship election in Adamawa state.”
The party cautioned law enforcement agents on ground in the North East state and INEC not to cave into what it called “the inordinate demands of the PDP to subvert final collation and announcement of result.”
The statement reads in part: “We draw urgent attention of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and our security services to massive thuggery, violence, intimidation and undue pressure by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) calculated to disrupt final collation and announcement of result of the Governorship election in Adamawa state.
“Election results show a clear and decisive victory for Senator Aishatu Dahiru (Binani), the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Candidate. Faced with imminent and certain prospect of loss in the election, thugs and political actors led by incumbent Governor, and Candidate of the PDP, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, have unleashed heavily armed thugs to disrupt further collation of result and subvert the will of Adamawa people as expressed at the polls. The Governor is reported to have torn result sheets at the collation centre in a show of unprecedented impunity and executive brigandage.
“We are well aware of the massive pressure on INEC and law enforcement authorities to cave in to the inordinate demands of the PDP to subvert final collation and announcement of result. However, we are supremely confident that INEC and our law enforcement authorities will stand firm and conclude the election process in the state as required by law.
“The result of election in Fufore Local Government Area of the state must not be tampered with as Senator Aishatu Dahiru (Binani) holds a clear, unassailable lead, only awaiting final collation and declaration by INEC.
“Nigeria is on the cusp of a major democratic record with the election and emergence of the first female Governor of a State in the country. We urge all well-meaning Nigerians to stand together to protect and uphold this historic victory for women and our country.”
Party kicks over Bauchi
Also, the Bauchi state chapter of the APC has rejected the results which produced Bala as winner.
The party’s agent Abdulmumuni Kundak, refused to sign the result sheets, claiming they were marred by irregularities.
He said: “I won’t sign the results because I am not satisfied. I’m not sure this is the genuine result. It is a cooked up result. I have made several alerts before everyone here. I won’t sign, except if they will hold my hand and force me to sign.
“There were many irregularities which I raised before the Returning Officer, but they refused to hear what I was saying. How can you send your staff to go and conduct an election and bring the results to you without allowing the witnesses to also come along when the results are being presented?” he queried.
In a petition addressed to INEC, the APC alleged there was massive rigging, violence and electoral malpractices, and thus, called for the cancellation of the results of the election in five LGAs.
The party also demanded that after the cancellations, the election should be declared as inconclusive, so that a rerun can hold.
The petition, which was signed by the APC Legal Adviser, Rabiu Garba reads: “We hereby complain of the massive rigging, violence and electoral malpractices committed which marred the Bauchi State Governorship election conducted on March 18, 2023 in Alkaleri, Kirfi, Toro, Warji and Zaki Local Government Areas.
It alleged that in some Polling Units where the party’s supporters were many, such as Alkaleri LGA, “APC Polling Unit Agents were chased away by PDP thugs who took over the control of all the Polling Units and thumb-printed ballot papers without accreditation, and results were written without election. APC members were disenfranchised and molested by violence.
“The Election in Alkaleri LGA was characterised by over-voting without cancellation, box snatching, a returning officer was beaten, tortured and threatened at gun point to sign the concocted result,” the APC statement further alleged.
“Consequent upon the above, we categorically state that the Governorship election of March 18, 2003, conducted in Bauchi State, was rendered invalid by reason of non-compliance to the Electoral Act, 2022 and INEC Guidelines for the 2023 General Elections.
“We, therefore, call for the cancellation of the Governorship election held in Alkaleri, Toro, Warji and Zaki Local Government Areas and the declaration of the Election in Bauchi State as inconclusive.
“I call that they (INEC) order for supplementary elections in the aforementioned and affected local government areas,” he insisted.