Udora Orizu in Abuja
Contrary to the reported victory of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, in Saturday’s National Assembly election, his opponent and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, representing Abia North senatorial district has insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to make any official return for Abia North senatorial seat.
The returning officer for the senatorial district, Dr. Charles Anumudu, announced the result on Monday at the Abia North collation centre in Ohafia, revealing that Kalu polled 30,203 votes to defeat his closest rival Ohuabunwa, who garnered 20,801 votes.
But Ohuabunwa, at a news conference in Abuja alleged that Kalu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his alleged co-travellers in INEC only declared himself winner with results that never emanated from the polling units contrary to the electoral act as amended.
The lawmaker alleged that the returning officer never returned Kalu as duly elected, adding that he only announced figures substantially different from results collated at the various polling units across Abia North.
According to him, “INEC operatives in their haste to arrive at a pre-determined conclusion manipulated the electoral process to the shock of all well-meaning patriots who believe in democracy. In this respect, it is tragic that INEC could conduct an election without the issuance of form EC40G, a form used to capture cancelled votes and places where there was no voting. “In the circumstances of the above, we demand that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Abia State should direct the returning officer of the Abia North senatorial election to make the requisite declaration in accordance with the dictates of Rule 17E(e) of the guidelines for the conduct of elections issued by INEC by cancelling the elections completely.
“Meanwhile, with the massive and arbitrary purported cancellation of valid votes in 72 (of the 149) polling units in the 11 wards of Arochukwu, 32 in two wards of Nkporo (17 in Ndi Agbo an 15 in Ndi Elu), and so many other units across the Abia North senatorial District, in conflict with the results earlier announced and pasted at the various units in accordance with the Electoral Act.
“Besides the hijacking of the unit results in Bende LGA direct from the units to the LGA (by-passing the ward collation) where APC & their INEC cohorts allegedly connived to manipulate figures at will and had a field day allotting scores across the 13 wards, over 30,000 registered voters and 10,000 potential votes are being disenfranchised and lost as a result of the orchestrated and predetermined fraudulent act. In Arochukwu for instance, the total number of votes allotted the Senator was a laughable 843,”he alleged.
Ohuabunwa further said that the declaration of the results was not anything near substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
According to him, “Bende result did not emanate from the polling units as no results were declared at that level. All results in Bende should have been canceled but the Returning Officer was forced at gunpoint to declare the result for House of Representatives even when he noted 7,601 canceled votes which were more than the margin of 3,547 and he fled afterwards to Umuahia where he issued a statement calling for the cancellation of what he declared.”
It is also alleged that the Returning Officer is a brother to Willie Anumudu of Globe motors, an alleged long-term associate of Kalu.