SDP, Ude Ask Tribunal to Nullify Alagboso’s Election

Christina Ude

Tobi Soniyi

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for the Federal House of Representatives of Orlu, Orsu and Oru East Constituency in Imo State, Mrs. Christina Ude, has asked the Natiomal and States House of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Owerri, Imo State to nullify the election of Chief Jerry Alagboso of the Peoples Democratic Party on the ground that the election was invalid by reason of non compliance with the law.

In her petition, Mrs Ude stated that after the February 23 election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not declare any of the contestants winner because the election was marred by violence and other malpractices.

Instead, INEC, she said fixed supplementary election for the constituency for March 9.

While the contestants were waiting for the supplementary election, the petitioner stated that INEC on March 4, unlawfully declared Alagboso, the PDP candidate winner of the election.

Mrs Ude and her party, SDP raised four grounds upon which they asked the tribunal to nullify the election and order a freh poll.

According to them, the names of all the political parties that took part in the election were not reflected on the declaration of result sheets.

They stated that the summary of result sheet on INEC Form EC8D (11) was mutilated.

They also alleged that INEC presiding officers failed to enter the names and scores of all political parties into the polling units result sheets.

They therefore asked the tribunal to void the certificate of return issued to Alagboso and to issue an order directing INEC to conduct a fresh election in the constituency.

Mrs Ude had earlier called for a fresh election citing gross irregularities and fraudulent manipulation of results by INEC’s staff, corpers, opposition party and security operatives attached to polling units.

She said: “The issues within the 29 polling units in the three local government areas, as observed by my agents, were a gross manipulation of electoral process, intimidation of voters by both hired thugs, security agents alleged to be working for some political parties.

“While in some polling units, agents and adhoc staff were seen thumb printing the ballot papers, there is also available records of total discovery of vote buying in Oru East and Orlu Local Government respectively.”

She also said the lives of her agents and those who wanted to vote for her were threatened at polling units by hired thugs.

According to her, the rigging was done in such a way that the NYSC adhoc staff of INEC were all involved in the manipulation by wrongly misleading elderly voters on which party to vote for.

At some polling units, some wore tags and a rubber band chanting “you can only vote for PDP here ooo”

She said that at Orsu Local Government Area, there were neither a card reader machine nor any PVC.

She said: “What INEC officials did was to bring the paper that had the photocopy of the PVC’s, they would then ask you to sign, after which they would stamp and give out the ballot papers for the thumb printing and also insisting on the particular party to be thumb printed.

She said: “I believe that, it is unfair to impose any candidate on the electorates. Nigerians must and should be allowed to freely choose their representatives but what happened was a clear demonstration of selfishness and power drunk by desperate politicians.

Above all, Orlu, Orsu and Oru East federal constitutiency in the past had not witnessed such fraudulent and open manipulation of results and other forms electoral irregularities with armed uniform men, who pretended to be guarding the polling units whereas they were working for a particular purpose against the interest of the masses.

She, therefore demanded an outright re-run of the election in the federal constituency while urging the officials of the independent national electoral commission to rise up to the challenges by not allowing such an ugly disruption of democracy to reoccur