The outcome of the Abia North Senatorial election has sparked controversy following allegations by the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) that the result was fraudulently declared.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Sunday announced that supplementary poll would be held the following day by 8.00am in some wards and polling units across Arochukwu and Ohafia local governments.
The Administrative Secretary of INEC in Abia, Clement Oha, had explained that the electoral umpire found it necessary to conduct the supplementary poll in order to conclude the Abia North Senatorial election before results could be announced.
But in a twist INEC later said that the supplementary poll would no longer hold, citing the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.
Subsequently, the returning officer for Abia North Senatorial election, Chinedu Nnamdi announced the result on Monday and declared Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, the Senate Chief Whip and APC candidate as winner.
But at separate press briefings in Umuahia yesterday the PDP candidate, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa and his LP counterpart, Chief Nnamdi Iro Orji rejected the result, calling for fresh senatorial poll in Abia North.
“I’m rejecting the result completely and I’m asking for a fresh election in Abia North,” Ohuabunwa said.
He said that it was wrong for INEC to have announced result without concluding the whole process, adding that there was deliberate effort to disenfranchise a large number of Abia North electorate.
According to him, over 100 polling units in Arochukwu and Ohafia local governments were not supplied with election materials thereby disenfranchising over 60,000 registered voters.
He chided INEC for giving Nigerians false hope of credible poll with the Biomodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) only to set it aside and allow fraudulent polls to take place.
There was orchestrated efforts to manipulate and frustrate that election. It was evident,” the former Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament said.
He said that he had already petitioned INEC over the Abia North senatorial poll, adding that if the electoral umpire failed to do the needful, he would take other lawful measures to still challenge the fraudulent result announced by INEC.
On his part, Chief Orji insisted that INEC should immediately conclude the aborted senatorial poll for Abia North in order to declare “a true winner” and douse the rising tension in the zone over the inconclusive poll.
The LP senatorial candidate, who spoke to journalists after submitting his petition to INEC, lamented that even after the electoral umpire had declared the poll inconclusive, its official still went ahead and “executed the hatchet job” for his opponent and then disappeared.
Chief Orji recalled that INEC had emphatically declared the election inconclusive and listed Isiama and Okanu Wards in Ohafia and several polling units in Abiriba as areas where election would be conducted.
He said that over 40,000 voters were disenfranchised in the affected areas, noting that the number of people denied their voting rights was 15 times higher than the 2,500 votes margin of lead before the poll was declared inconclusive.
The LP candidate, therefore, called on INEC to quickly conduct fresh election in those areas of Abia North where election did not hold last Saturday in order “to have its image which is now at stake.”
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