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Abia APGA complains of rigging, seeks cancellation of results from polling units where ballot boxes were snatched

By Agwu Okojogho, Umuahia on 30/03/2015

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The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel results of elections from polling units where ballot boxes were snatched, calling for a thorough investigation into such incidents.

The standard bearer of APGA, Dr. Alex Otti, made the call in Umuahia an hour ago while briefing newsmen on alleged malpractice that charaterised the Presidential and National Assembly elections yesterday in Abia.

Otti alleged that results from polling units where votes counted showed clearly that APGA was leading but that the PDP does not want these authentic results to be released, adding that the party was rather doctoring and manipulating the results at local government collation centres.

As at Press time, no official results of the polls have been released by INEC.

Otti said it was disheartening and sad that after a peaceful polling, PDP doesn’t want credible results to be announced, swearing that APGA would insist that the right thing must be done.

Below is the full speech of Otti during the briefing:

“I will start by thanking Abia people for coming out in their numbers yesterday to exercise their civic responsibility of voting at yesterday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections. I also would like to thank them for keeping faith with us and a lot of them remained behind till very late when the votes were counted in a lot of places when votes were counted.

“I will like to start by saying that there is no doubt that INEC, particularly at a very senior level, wanted to organise free, fair and credible elections. The concept of the card reader and the permanent voter’s card was meant to eliminate electoral malpractice that had to do with identification and authentication of voters.

“But unfortunately, in a few places, the card readers failed and we had issues where the INEC staff went into manual accreditation.

“The elections have held in a lot of places, there are a few places when elections did not hold. It was very clear, from the numbers that were coming out from the polling units where votes were counted, that both in the Senate and the House of Representatives elections that APGA was leading in most of the polling units.

“What is happening now is that a whole lot of malpractice have been reported: One is that a in a lot of polling booths, the transition local government chairmen of a lot of local governments, and specific reference to Isiala Ngwa South, Isiala Ngwa North, Aba North and Ugwunagbo, Aba South, Ohafia, Osisioma and Arochukwu made sure that credible results did not come out, particularly with collation.

“So, we had a lot of issues at the collation centres at the wards. In fact, a lot of ward collation centres did not function. In some local governments, people had to move from the booths to the local government collation centres.

“Now, because a lot of INEC offices in the local governments are housed in the local government headquarters,  most of these transition council chairmen had security forces, whether they were real or fake, but most of them used them to intimidate our agents, stopped them from gaining access into the collation centres and muscled INEC officials into changing the results that they were supposed to be collating and we have results coming out from Isiala Ngwa North and South which are not consistent with the results that came from the booths.

“We have the same for Osisioma like I mentioned, Ugwunagbo is a case in point, Ukwa West, there is still confusion there because the Transition Council chairman, together with PDP members have refused to allow the results to be announced. There is confusion in Ohafia,  there is in Arochukwu,  there is at Umunneochi, there is also confusion at Isuikwuato.

“It is very disheartening that people have come out to vote, the votes should have been counted at the polling units but at the collation centres, PDP has refused to let credible elections to be concluded and we are calling on our people to remain calm because we believe the right thing has to be done.

“We have also communicated to INEC at very senior levels to please investigate these anomalies and I believe that they will do that. We will insist on the right things being done. We will not accept results that were doctored at the collation centres. There were a lot of instances of snatching of ballot boxes and these were done by people who should be responsible.

“The TC chairman of Isiala Ngwa South local government,  Chris Nwagboso, supervised with armed thugs, the snatching or ballot boxes from a few polling units in Isiala Ngwa. Same thing happened at Ugwunagbo and I think it is very, very sad that these are agents of government who should contribute to ensuring that the right thing is done but they are the ones that are perpetrating crime and it is important that this is put in the public domain. I also understand that at Nkporo, elections did not hold at all. They sat down and wrote results.

“Now, a major thing that happened yesterday was that we believed that some of the people that conducted the elections were actually not INEC officials or ad hoc staff. We believe strongly that some of them are card-carrying members of PDP who were swapped with names of INEC approved officers and it is very clear, when you see the way they behaved and the things they did at the polling units.

“One other thing was that a lot of the polling units did not have original result sheets and that was why it was possible for them to write results elsewhere and it is important that we highlight this because it is a major factor. I believe that watching the news today, that also have happened in a couple of other places. So, it is a major problem when the result sheets had been tampered with and had been taken away by people who are supposed to be the umpires of the election. So, these are areas that need to be thoroughly investigated.”

•Photo shows Mrs. Uche Eme Uche, APGA Running mate, Otti, National Vice Chairman of APGA, South East, Uchenna Okogbuo, Director-General of Otii Campaign Organisation, Tony Enwereuzor, during the briefing.

Source News Express

Posted 30/03/2015 03:28:28 AM

 

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