ABUJA- Labour Party Coalition for True Democracy, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review the Enugu governorship election like they did in Adamawa.
Mr Ken Asogwa , Spokesman of the coalition, at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja alleged that the same scenario in Enugu played out in Adamawa but with different outcome.
Asogwa said that what took place in Enugu on March 18 was exactly what emboldened the Adamawa Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) to attempt to usurp the powers of the Adamawa State Returning Officer in such a shameful manner.
“You may recall that in Enugu, after the collation of 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) out of the 17 LGAs of the state, the Labour Party candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, was leading with over 11,000 votes.
“This lead by the Labour Party was in consonance with the results of the other declared elections in the state wherein the Labour Party won two of the three senatorial seats in the State.
“LP also won seven out of the eight Rep seats in the state and 14 out of the 24 seats in the State House of Assembly.
“Where then lies the path to victory for the PDP in that election, judging from the established voting pattern?‘’
Asogwa said that surprisingly, INEC wrote and awarded to the PDP a whopping 30,000 votes at Nkanu East LGA, the LGA of the PDP candidate.
He said that according to the figures from INEC Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, Nkanu East LGA recorded a total number of 15,000 accredited voters on the Election Day.
He, however, said that when votes were declared, PDP was allocated a total number of 30,350 votes while a total number of 1,855 were credited to the Labour Party.
“So, the big question is; how could INEC have turned out over 33,000 votes in Nkanu East LGA that had only about 15,000 accredited voters?
“The ready answer is that the Electoral Act was literally thrown under the bus by writing results without recourse to the BVAS.
“One had expected INEC to cancel the results of the polling units in Nkanu East LGA where there were manifest over-voting, in line with S 51 (2) of the Electoral Act.
“The Act stipulates that where there is established incident of over-voting in any polling unit, the returning officer has an obligation under the law to cancel the elections in those polling units and order a rerun,’’ he said.
Asogwa said that there were protests by the Labour Party agent and the agents of the other political parties, in addition to the reluctance of Prof. Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe, the State Returning Officer, to accept the Nkanu East LGA result.
He said that the collation was temporarily suspended by Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, the INEC chairman, who then took charge of the situation by constituting a committee that awarded and subtracting votes indiscriminately.
He added that at the time of declaration of Enugu State gubernatorial election results, there were a total number of 21,156 persons with PVCs yet to cast their votes across the State because elections did not hold in their polling units due to violence.
“Recall that in the final result as declared by the INEC, the candidate of the PDP purportedly polled a total number of 160,895 votes while the candidate of the Labour Party polled a total of 157,552 votes.
“ In other words, the candidate of the PDP purportedly won by 3,343 votes.’’
Asogwa said that from the above analysis, it was therefore glaring that the above figure of 21,156 was substantial enough to affect the final outcome of the election.
He said yet INEC curiously rushed to return a winner without conducting a supplementary election as they did in Adamawa.
He said that in addition, the number of cancelled votes far exceeded the margin of lead between the candidate of the Labour Party and the PDP.
He said that the Electoral Act provided that when the number of cancelled votes exceeded the margin of lead, a rerun should be conducted in the affected units before a return could be made.
“Notwithstanding these clear provisions, the INEC in Enugu bizarrely returned a winner in an election that was literally inconclusive.’’
Asogwa, therefore, said that it was against the above background that the coalition wished to state that it was the Enugu INEC electoral playbook that the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa attempted to rehash in the State.
He called on every well-meaning Nigerians to therefore be worried about the brazen nature of the crime that took place in Enugu State on 18th March and stand up for democracy.
Asogwa said that they would continue to have implicit faith in the judiciary to right the wrongs perpetrated in the Enugu governorship election.
He said that there was a reason the Enugu electorates chose to vote for Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party and that choice ought to have been respected by all the actors involved in the Enugu Guber election, especially the INEC.
He said that the group would continue to urge the teeming supporters to continue to toe the part of peace while the judiciary wades in to serve justice in the face of this obvious injustice.
“We would not fail in our duty to urge Nigerians to be vigilant as the enemies of state are at it again,’’ he said. (NAN)