#ABIADECIDES: Tension, As INEC gives mandate on Obingwa LGA results
By Charity Uwakwe
As tension engulfs the entire Abia State and it’s environs as to who the winner of the 2023 gubernatorial election, held on Saturday, March 18, would be, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has described as unacceptable, the unlawful attitude of thugs at Obingwa local government area of Abia.
Consequently, the election umpire has, decided that therefore, “there will be a thorough review of the results in that area.”
Famousreporters.com reports that the governorship candidate of Labour Party candidate, Dr. Alex Otti had alerted INEC, yesterday informing the body of an alleged ploy by the ruling party in the State, PDP, to rob him of his mandate.
In the live press conference which was aired by Channels TV, Otti stated with an aura of confidence that he won the governorship election with landslide “but lamented that the People Democratic Party (PDP) is planning to manipulate the results.
It would be recalled also that our Obingwa Local Government Area office in Abia State by thugs during the collation of results for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
The bone of contention, as gathered was the collated result from the Registration Areas for the Governorship election in that Local Government Area.
Famousreporters.com reports that INEC personnel were arrested and detained, as a result of their blunt refusal to tamper with the collated results.
Reacting swiftly to the distressed call out to the INEC body, and upon hearing about the unwarranted detention of the Commission’s personnel, Barrister Festus Okoye, National Commissioner And Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee,
This is even as 10 local government results out of 17 LGAs in Abia State have been collated, as collation of results continues today Monday 20,2023 at INEC office, Umuahia, the State’s capital.
The full speech read thus:
TEXT OF THE SPEECH DELIVERED BY BARRISTER FESTUS OKOYE, NATIONAL COMMISSIONER AND CHAIRMAN, INFORMATION AND VOTER EDUCATION COMMITTEE, BARRISTER FESTUS OKOYE AT THE NATIONAL SITUATION ROOM, INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA ON SUNDAY 19 MARCH 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
I welcome you all to this briefing
As Nigerians are aware, the 2023 General Election is approaching its concluding stages. Arising from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25 February 2023, the Commission promised Nigerians that there will be improved processes during the Governorship and State Assembly elections held yesterday, Saturday 18 March 2023.
In keeping with this promise, we had meetings with our Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and service providers, and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to review processes and procedures to ensure more optimal delivery of personnel and materials to various locations for the election to facilitate the opening the Polling Units on time. Consequently, majority of the polling units nationwide opened on schedule and citizens were attended to promptly.
Similarly, there was improved voter authentication using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) while the uploading of Polling Unit results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (BeX) witnessed a remarkable improvement.
We have left no stone unturned as far as the processes and procedures under the control of the Commission were concerned. However, for difficult and unforeseen circumstances outside the Commission’s control, we did our best to respond, especially where processes were disrupted by actors over whom we have little or no control, Such diabolical behaviour did not only affect citizens but also impacted on the Commission’s officials and processes, INEC staff, both regular and ad hoc were victims of violence.
Some of our staff were abducted, harassed, intimidated, hospitalized and in one case killed. Nevertheless, where we could not deploy to enable citizens to vote, the Commission took the decision to remobilize to such places to enable citizens to exercise their franchise. Unfortunately, we could not extend the same to areas where voting was disrupted, and election materials destroyed. We are keeping our eyes on those areas and would not hesitate to remobilize where the outcome of the election is affected.
At the moment, collation of results and declaration of winners for the 28 Governorship and 993 State Assembly elections are ongoing nationwide. We are committed to the sanctity of the process and will not hesitate to take drastic measures against proven irregularities. Allegations of voter inducement, harassment and manipulation of results will be reviewed and addressed.
Earlier today, the Commission alerted the nation to the invasion of our Obingwa Local Government Area office in Abia State by thugs during the collation of results for the Governorship and State Assembly elections. In contention was the collated result from the Registration Areas for the Governorship election in that Local Government Area. The intention was to force the collation of these contentious results. The behaviour of these thugs is unacceptable and there will be a thorough review of the results.
The Commission does not take the patience of citizens for granted and will continue to take steps to protect the integrity of the vote and consolidate the progress so far in the electoral process.