By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Mass protest is looming in Abia State over the outcome of the governorship election in which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returned Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as winner with the main opposition parties vehemently kicking against the poll result.
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. Alex Otti, dropped the hint at a joint press conference held with the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, in Umuahia during which they rejected the poll result.
Otti, who read a joint statement by the main opposition candidates, warned that the peaceful disposition of opposition supporters should not be taken for granted this time around just because APGA did not take to the streets in 2015 when its “mandate was stolen”.
“We are peace-loving people but we don’t believe that anybody will come here and tamper with the wishes of the people,” he warned.
The aggrieved governorship candidates insisted that they would not accept Governor Ikpeazu’s victory as announced by INEC, saying that it was a product of “fraud and robbery”.
“We would like to inform you that all the results were not only fraudulent but did not represent the will of the people of Abia,” Otti said while reading a statement jointly signed with his APC counterpart.
“The results were highly tampered with to favour the ruling PDP,” he said, adding that INEC connived with security agencies to change the results and give victory to the incumbent governor.
“We therefore reject in its totality the results of the 2019 governorship election announced by INEC and demand its cancellation,” he said.
They called for the cancellation of the 2019 governorship poll in Abia within 24 hours and organise rescheduled poll “whenever INEC is ready to organise transparent election”.
The APGA governorship standard-bearer said: “INEC (had) deceived us into believing that any result that did not agree with the card reader recorded will attract zero value,” adding that the electoral body failed to keep faith with its own guidelines for the governorship poll.
He cited Obingwa and Ugwunagbo Local Governments where he alleged that card readers were not used only for INEC to record 78,803 and 22,084 votes respectively for the candidate of the PDP, Governor Ikpeazu.
Otti also faulted INEC for reappointing Prof Ozurumba as the returning officer for the 2019 Abia governorship poll, adding that he was in that capacity that he robbed him of his mandate in 2015.
In his remarks Ogah alleged that agents of opposition parties were chased out of the collation centres to enable the PDP write the results the way they desired.