UMUAHIA – The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, has urged INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega to wade into the protest that characterised Saturday’s governorship election in Abia.
Umeh made the appeal on Tuesday in Umuahia while briefing newsmen on the election, which INEC had declared inconclusive.
He urged Jega to initiate an administrative action to uphold the cancellation of the elections in three local government areas of the state as announced by the Returning Officer, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ozumba had announced the cancellation of the election results in Osisioma, Obingwa and Isialangwa North Local Government Areas during the collation of results on Sunday.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
He cited reported cases of violence in the affected areas and reports by international observers as his reasons for the cancellation.
Ozumba, however, reversed the cancellation shortly after Gov. Theodore Orji, accompanied by chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, stormed the collation centre and held consultations with the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Selina Oko, and Ozumba in the REC’s office.
Umeh said that the reversal was unacceptable to APGA, insisting that the cancellation should be sustained.
He said that the governor’s visit to the collation centre brought undue influence on the returning officer, forcing him to recant by annulling the cancellation.
“We believe their visit truncated the process,’’ he said, adding that the development ‘’introduced an unfortunate twist and fiasco to Abia state politics”.
Umeh described the visit as an “invasion’’ and an electoral offence and called for the prosecution of those involved, including the PDP National Secretary, Chief Olise Metuh, the Minister of State of Defence, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd), among others.
He said that the party no longer had confidence in the officials of INEC in Abia to conduct credible and fair supplementary election in the state and requested that new officials be deployed from outside the state for the exercise.
He urged INEC ‘’to do what is right and needful’’ to ensure that the will of the people for change in Abia ‘’overwhelmingly” expressed through the ballot, was not subverted.
In his remarks, the party’s governorship candidate, Dr Alex Otti, reiterated the call for the cancellation of the elections in the three local government areas.
Otti said that elections did not take place in those areas and that electoral materials, including card readers were recovered in the bush in Osisioma by security operatives on election duty in the area.
He also said that there was no election in Obingwa Local Government Area, where the Transition Committee Chairman, Prince Obinna Nwabiarije, was arrested and detained for allegedly being in possession of voting materials.
He appealed to the people to be calm and not to engage in any acts of violence that could lead to loss of life because of the election. (NAN)
you may also like: