March 22, 2023

Collation of Abia guber poll resumes 4pm today


By Steve Oko

Vanguard can authoritatively report that the suspended collation of the Abia State governorship election will resume by 4pm today (Wednesday) at the Collation Centre located inside the premises of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, headquarters Umuahia.

Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Mrs. Rebecca Jim, who confirmed this to our Correspondent, said that the Presiding Officer and Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO, Professor Nnenna Oti; and the State Administrative Secretary, Clement Oha, who were invited to the INEC headquarters Abuja, over the controversy from the Obingwa results, were on their way back to the state, to complete the process.

Vanguard had reported that the collation of governorship election results in Abia and Enugu were, on Monday, suspended by INEC following allegations of infractions, especially over-voting in some areas.

While fewer than 27,000 voters were accredited in Obingwa by the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines, reports had it that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, polled over 100,000 votes from the council.

The main opposition Labour Party, LP, which was already leading with over 92,000 votes from the declared results of 16 out of 17 LGAs in the state, cried foul, alleging that the ‘mystery figures’ were cooked by the ruling party.

While results from 26 LGAs had been formally declared at the INEC Collation Centre, Obingwa result was yet to be presented when the directive from INEC headquarters in Abuja came for the exercise to the halted, and the action shifted to Abuja.

Abia had been soaked with tension since the logjam started, with protests and growing calls among residents for INEC to declare the winner of the contest and not allow the will of the people subverted.

Abia Patriots, led by former Commissioner for Youths Development, Dannie Ubani; and the immediate-past Chairman, Board of Internal Revenue, Professor Udo Ogbonnaya, had at a press conference Tuesday in Umuahia, urged INEC to stop further delays in announcing the winner of the contest, which could be “clearly seen by all according to INEC statistics”.

They warned that any error of judgment or attempt to subvert the will of the people could set the stage ablaze, and urged INEC to save Abia from avoidable political turmoil.

The patriots wondered how over 100,000 voters woke from their graves to vote in the governorship election in Obingwa and returned to their graves leaving only fewer than 27,000 to vote in the state house of assembly election held simultaneously in the state.