March 3, 2023

Abia group faults declaration of Obingwa/Osisioma/Ugwunagbo Federal Constituency results


—Accuses INEC of being compromised
—Insists on rerun in Osisioma on March 11

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

A socio-cultural organization under the aegis of Obingwa Concerned Citizens, OCC, has kicked against the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to announce results of the elections in Obingwa/Osisioma/Ugwunagbo Federal Constitituency of Abia State when most areas were yet to exercise their franchise.

The group said that the decision of the INEC to announce results of an election that some units and areas within the constituency had not even received election materials showed that the commission was not prepared for the elections.

But it has also called people of the constitituency to remain calm in the midst of what it described as insensitivity perpetrated by the INEC during the Presidential and National Assembly elections that took place on Saturday, February 25, 2023 assuring them that “there is no cause for alarm.”

Accusing INEC of carrying out an assignment against the will of the people, the Obingwa Concerned Citizens, assured the people that their mandate cannot be stolen through the backdoor.

It vowed to ensure that the nation’s electoral umpire does the right thing by conducting elctions at places where elections could not hold owing to varying degrees of challenges.

Speaking through its leader, Comrade Emmanuel Munachim Onyenso, the group
expressed disappointment at the alleged INEC’s inability to keep to their words “even after admitting and declaring that elections did not hold in some polling units in the constituency especially at Obingwa and Osisioma Local Government Areas with over forty thousand disenfranchised voters”.

Comrade Onyenso urged the electoral umpire to as a matter of responsibility hold elections at the affected wards and polling units, insisting that no one can be declared winner over an inconclusive election.

The group contended that “in Obingwa four Wards, seven Polling Units with a total of 8316 registered voters were disenfranchised while in Osisioma, four Wards, 68 polling units and a total of 37,029 registered were also disenfranchised, amounting to over forty thousand persons deliberately disenfranchised by INEC, which highlighted the problems caused by INEC theereby stopping the teeming masses, who came out in their numbers to cast their ballots for candidates of their choice but ended up waiting under the scorching sun all day long.”

Citing the Electoral Act, it insisted that the INEC had until seven days after the elections were conducted and declared inconclusive to investigate and conduct elections at such locations to ensure the people exercised their fundamental human rights.

It called on the INEC to include the two affected local government areas in the March 11 elections to give peace a chance.

It further argued that some polling units did not have electoral materials or officers dispatched to them despite the fact that voters waited for hours, accusing the commission of denying the people their right to exercise their civic responsibility.

“People came out en mass to vote but INEC officials and materials were no where to be found,” the group said.

It wondered how the electoral umpire concluded an elections when thousands of persons could not exercise their franchise owing to their failure to ensure the timely arrival of materials and the electoral staff, or the non arrival of electoral officials at some polling units, and lack of result sheets for House of Representatives elections among other irregularities.

The organization frowned at the alleged lies told by INEC on the use of the Bimodial Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, to transmit results technologically, while accusing the electoral umpire of manipulating and transmitting results manually.

The group called on relevant stakeholders to call for accountability by INEC as well as a rerun at the polling units with immediate effect.

While calling on the people of Obingwa/Osisioma/Ugwunagbo Federal Constituency especially the youths to give peace a chance, it vowed to ensure that INEC conducts the rescheduled elections across the constituency adding that a petition had been written against Abia INEC to that effect.