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APGA, PDP bicker over inconclusive guber poll in Abia

By Agwu Okojogho, Umuahia on 15/04/2015

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With the Abia governorship election declared inconclusive, the two leading parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) have continued to bicker over the outcome of the poll, especially over the inclusion of results from the three disputed local governments of Isiala Ngwa North, Obingwa and Osisioma.

While APGA is insisting that cancellation of results from the councils should be sustained, PDP is arguing that the Returning Officer erred by pronouncing that the results have been cancelled when he had no such powers.

Returning Officer of the Abia governorship election, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, had, based on reports by international Observers, announced the cancellation of results from the three local government areas. He was to reverse himself later, saying he only suspended action on the collation of results from those local governments and has received further explanations which made him to order that collation of results from the three local governments should continue.

It is believed that the announcement that those results should be cancelled that warranted Governor Theodore Orji and other PDP bigwigs to visit the INEC office.

National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, at a joint press briefing with the Abia standard bearer of the party, Dr Alex Otti, called for sustenance of the cancelation of results of the three local government areas, adding that INEC should recruit ad hoc staff that should handle the supplementary elections in areas where results were cancelled from outside Abia.

Umeh expressed disgust that Governor Orji and many PDP chieftains stormed INEC office, the collation centre for the governorship poll and allegedly intimidated the Returning Officer into reversing himself by announcing the results of the three councils

He said that this action amounted to electoral offence “which truncated the election” by “introducing the unfortunate fiasco and impasse in the Abia State governorship election,”  insisting that all those PDP chieftains who visited the collation centre should be arrested and prosecuted.

Umeh expressed optimism that Otti won the poll, as Abians voted for change and described as bizzare, the returns made from the three local governments.

“From the results posted from these three local governments of Obingwa, Osisioma and Isiala Ngwa North where there were several irregularities, malpractices and non-compliance to the rules set by INEC, particularly none use of card readers to do accreditation, the election was manipulated in these three local governments where results were written without recourse to any election taking place at all,” Umeh said.

He said APGA has rejected the “inclusion of the concocted figures” from the three councils and demanded that the Returning Officer should sustain his “valid cancelation” of those results, while there should be a “total repeat of elections” in the three local governments.

According to Umeh, National chairman of INEC should despatch a new team of officials that should conduct the run-off elections.

Otti corroborated the views expressed by Umeh but appealed to Abians to remain calm and abhor violence.

He said he would not like any Abian to die in the process as his ambition and that of any other person is not worth the blood of any Abian, and thanked the people for voting for APGA and himself.

In their reaction, the PDP maintained that the Returning Officer overstepped his bounds by announcing that the disputed results have been cancelled, arguing that the Returning Officer could not cancel results based on reports by observers.

“Bear in mind that at the Returning Officer reversed himself, he had not declared any person winner. It can therefore not rightly be said that he had become functus officio. The job of the Returning Officer at that point was still in progress, not concluded,” state chairman of PDP, Senator EmmaNwaka, asserted.

“What happened was that the Returning Officer discovered he was in error in canceling those results and simply called himself to order. The notion making the rounds that he was and cajoled to reverse himself holds no water.... Since the purported cancellation had no legal legs to stand on, it simply collapsed,” he added.

Nwaka said that PDP was ready for the run-off elections but insisted that card readers must be used and queried returns from Aba North and Aba South where he alleged the governorship election was rigged.

•Photo shows Umeh

Source News Express

Posted 14/04/2015 11:32:55 PM

 

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