The All Progressives Congress (APC) has demanded a total cancellation of Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State based on the massive disenfranchisement of people across the state, caused by the blatant incompetent and/or deliberate sabotage by the electoral commission itself.
Similarly, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Tony Nwoye, Sunday, rejected the outcome of Saturday’s election, asking the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to cancel the election in its entirety and conduct a fresh election to be personally supervised by the commision’s chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, APC’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed,the party the party said that its call for total cancellation supersedes its early call for a rerun in four local government areas,and is based on the report it received from its agents as well as from local and foreign observers during the poll.
It said that INEC, which was saddled with organizing the election, inexplicably used a voters’ register that is totally different from what it gave to political parties ahead of the election, with the result that the new register did not contain the names of most of the registered voters in the state.
Worse still, APC said, delivery of materials to the stongholds of the APC candidate, Senator Chris Ngige, was either done very late or not at all, a development that further robbed over 300,000 of his supporters in three key local governments of Idemili North, Idemili South and Awka South of their franchise.
”After consultations with our agents as well as with local and foreign observers, we have discovered that what we earlier complained about was a child’s play, compared to the widespread disenfranchisement that was orchestrated by the same body given the responsibility of ensuring a free, fair and creditable election on Saturday.
”We discovered that INEC has set up a multi-layer arrangement to ensure that most voters in the state were disenfranchised, apparently acting out a script to manipulate the result of the election in favour of a certain candidate. Where voting materials were supplied, the commission provided wrong voters’ register.
”Coming after the charade in Delta, this is a serious development that raises questions about the ability of INEC to conduct a free, fair and transparent elections anywhere in Nigeria. It is particularly serious because if people who registered to vote are not able to do so, and even the votes of those who managed to cast them do not count, then anarchy is looming,” the party said.
It called for a probe of INEC to determine why it has taken it upon itself to sabotage its own elections, even when people are determined to endure the orchestrated inconveniences and shun all acts of violence, as was witnessed in Anambra on
Saturday when people waited patiently and peacefully, only to go home in total disappointment.
”This is a new low for INEC, and unless something is done urgently, the electoral commission may plunge Nigeria into a crisis from which it may not recover,” APC warned.
Nwoye on his part, told a news conference in Awka that the “the election is far below average and cannot be said to be free and fair” adding that “it was heavily manipulated by INEC in collusion with security agents in favour of Governor Peter Obi’s preferred candidate, Willie Obiano.”
“I have been involved in many elections in this country since my secondary schools days and particularly in 1993 Presidential election where Moshood Abiola emerged, I have never seen this type of rigging.
“I have never seen an election where the military men and police were harassing and intimidating voters, assisting the INEC and APGA agents to chase away the PDP members at the collation centres to write results.
“Our people were wounded at different places like Enugu-Otu, Eziagulu-Otu, Aguleri ward one, Oromaetiti Anam, Umueze Anam, Orumba Norh, Orumba South, Aguata, part of Ihiala, Lilu, Uli, Ebenebe Awka North and so many other places.
“They perfected the rigging so much that they excluded many people from voting. Josephine Anenih did not vote, myself did not vote, my father didn’t vote, my polling booth that had more than 500 voters not up to 70 persons saw their names in the voters register.
“We would have still won but the worst part of it was the type of rigging where PDP supporters were chased away and prevented from voting. Besides, the result sheets did not come with the electoral materials to many polling booths. At the end of the day, whatever is the outcome of the election is unacceptable to us.”
“We thought that the election will be highly free and fair when we were assured that there will be enough security men but the military and police personnel deployed turned out to be the people that they used to rig the election. It is very unfortunate.”
Nwoye said that the election conducted on Sunday at Obosi ward was a “fluke” explaining that it was wrong to conduct election on a day when the people should be in their churches to worship God.
According to him, the election was part of the plots by the INEC Chairman, Prof Jega and Governor Peter Obi to crown the APGA candidate, Willie Obiano at all cost, “but we want to let them know that there is tomorrow.”
He said that the result of the election “is highly unacceptable to me and I call for total cancellation of the election and we want Prof Jega to come down here and conduct the election by himself.”
But reacting to calls by Ngige and Nwoye for the cancellation of the election, founding chairman of the PDP in the state, Joseph Okonkwo, Offia-di-Ulu, said he participated in observing the election in the state, describing it as “very free, and transparent”.
He added that nobody in his right mind would call for the cancellation of the election.
Okonkwo , who was a Special Assistant to the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in the second republic said: “ Ngige ought to have understood that he joined a wrong party that deported his kit and kins from Lagos state and expected nothing good to come out of that experience. The common man in Igbo land will continue to react to that unpatriotic act of Lagos state Governor, Bbabatunde Fashola.
“Ngige should not forget that he has not moved any motion in the senate nor seconded any one moved by his colleagues since he entered the senate. He shouldn’t have expected anything more than what he saw in the election.”
On Nwoye, who contested on the platform of his political party, Okonkwo said he had no reason whatsoever to complain because a lot of things were fundamentally wrong with his nomination, adding that in any election only the popular candidate would be elected.
Okonkwo therefore advised Ngige and Nwoye to accept defeat and congratulate their APGA counterpart, who he said, performed excellently and deserved victory in Saturday’s election.