By Our Correspondent
The Labour party senatorial candidate for Ebonyi South Senatorial district Hon Linus Abaa Okorie has rejected the outcome of result in the zone and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to suspend the exercise.
He spoke at joint press briefing at INEC Headquarters, Abakaliki
He said Umahi was desperate and knew his political imprisonment was near if he lost the election.
According to him, “My name is Hon Linus Abaa Okorie, the Senatorial Candidate of the Labour Party February 25, 2023, general elections in Ebonyi South.
“I request the suspension of return of senatorial election conducted in the district on February 25, 2023, pending the conduct of elections in areas where Election did not hold or were undermined by the provisions of the electoral act 2022; and other irregularities, as enumerated below.
“Elections were not conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the following units even though voters waited all day as provided by law. They are Ogboukoro Play Ground (023) Enuagu; Ogbuoma Play Ground (024) Enuagu ward. Both units are in Onicha LGA.
“Election in the following polling units was disrupted and the Commission has failed to continue the election yesterday Sunday, February 26, 2023, as earlier announced by it.
“Enuagu ward (11-13-05); Ugwuodida Borehole (017) with the registration of
(ii) Nwankopa Market Square (022) with the registration of Isionicha ward (11-13-07); Ezebe Play Ground (004) with the registration of Old Nworie Umubo (005)
(iii) Ufuokweke Town Hall (007) with a registration of Amaofu Town Hall Umubo (010) with a registration of
(v) Umubo Community Primary School with the registration of Ofuokam Town Hall Umubo ((012); with the registration of
Eke Achiugo market square (014); with a registration of Amanator Civic Centre (016) with a registration of Amanator Ward (11-13-03), etc.
I” call for the suspension of the return of the Ebonyi South Senatorial election held on Saturday, February 25, 2023, pending full compliance with the provisions of section 24 of the electoral act 2022, especially section 24(3) in the wards and polling units enumerated above.
I also call for the re-collation of the polling unit results across the 5 local government areas of the senatorial district before any return can be made.”
Also asking the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to cancel elections were the Peoples Democratic Party Senators representing both Ebonyi North and Ebonyi South senatorial zones, Dr Sam Egwu and Micheal Nnachi; and senatorial candidate of the party for Ebonyi Central, Hon. Lazarus Ogbe, called for the cancellation of Saturday’s election, in the state.
According to them, the National Assembly and the Presidential election in Ebonyi State were marred with irregularities and other forms of electoral manipulations.
Speaking, a former governor of Ebonyi State, Dr Egwu, accused the state government of influencing the electoral process, adding the electorates were denied the opportunity to exercise their fundamental human rights.
He said, “The truth of the matter is that what is happening in Ebonyi State as far this election is concerned, is a sham. You should know that the use of BVAS was not adhered to. People are just voting as if we are still in the old period where you just collect a sheet of paper, write numbers and pass it on to INEC officials. That’s just what is happening.
“The INEC staff are collating numbers, and even before the final collation, they are already announcing. How can you do such a thing? This is what the REC has ordered that such should be stopped. That shows you the level of impunity. They are being manipulated and a lot of money is passing hands. The Ebonyi State Government is on these INEC staff and they are telling them to give these numbers and let the opposition go to court.
“But we are challenging it. We have come here and met with the REC and she has assured us that all these results being peddled must be verified. According to the new Electoral Law, voters must vote by BVAS, but here the reverse was the case. Many of the polling units in Ebonyi didn’t use the BVAS, but figures were just turned in. What happened here was figure allocation, and of course, you know this is a state where people are yearning for freedom and wanted to vote for their choice of candidates; but their choice was truncated, because of the selfishness of the APC.
“My prayers are that the results being churned out by these fraudulent INEC staff should be cancelled, and let the BVAS-generated results be used. Nobody should use what has been given, but we are saying the results should be verified by the BVAS. We are challenging these results.”
The Senator for Ebonyi South Zone and PDP senatorial candidate, Sen Micheal Nnachi, accused Governor David Umahi of meddling with the future of the people with his ‘treachery’ in the election.
He said, “Of course, all of you know I’m the Senator representing the Ebonyi South Zone. And so what Dr Egwu and the other senatorial candidates have said is exactly that, and that’s a shame on this government. Umahi never came close to me in the election, except that he resorted to the use of his thugs and manipulated the voting process these thugs beat up people and had field day influencing the process, even at Libolo in the Afikpo South LGA of Ebonyi State.
“These thugs now invalidated our results and forged theirs. This is the height of impunity and irregularity in any electoral process. We won’t allow it. We won’t. If I lose, I prefer to lose well. I defeated Umahi in the two polling units in his Umunaga Ward and it happened in the presence of everybody until Umahi unleashed his thugs on the people, after sharing money. The governor is treacherous.
“In Afikpo South, Umahi and his group influenced the Returning Officer and ensured the figures were manipulated. And the people were so bothered, they started crying and saying INEC has failed them. But we are confident in what the REC has said about going back to verify all the results there.
“We call on Umahi to hands off this evil. He can’t live in evil all the time. He just has three months to vacate the governorship office and go. He has to amend his ways. Ayade failed, and he hasn’t killed anybody and Heaven has not fallen. He’s also a sitting governor like him. He’s putting people’s jobs on the line by enticing them with money here and there. This is Ebonyi’s money he’s sharing; children and their parents are suffering and the governor is not bothered but is only desperate to become a senator. He can’t continue to unleash evil and wickedness on the Ebonyi people. He has to stop.”
To Hon. Lazarus Ogbe, PDP senatorial candidate for Ebonyi Central Zone, “Mine is a little bit different because they have not completed the computation of results in Ebonyi Central. But from what we have seen, the electoral malpractice in the entire Ebonyi State is just similar. There is rigging everywhere and it’s the height of it.
“Here, there is adding and allocation of numbers or figures to APC candidates. For instance, in Ikwo LGA of the state, they have continued to panel beat, and rework the results that came out from Ikwo, for the past 24 hours. Unfortunately, what is coming out from the Ward or polling units do not tally with what has been brought to the NEC collation centre.” He concluded