March 28, 2023

Enugu Gov Poll: Group flays call for review of results, asks LP to go to court

Enugu guber election

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, ABUJA

A pro-democracy organization under the aegis of Enugu Good Governance Group, E-3G, has flayed the demand by Labour Party, LP, for a further review of the results of the governorship election that was held in the state on March 18.

The group, which addressed newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, equally condemned LP’s request for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to withhold the Certificate of Return for the election and not issue the same to the Governor-elect, Mr Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

It maintained that having dutifully collated results of the 17 Local Government Areas in the state and declared the winner, INEC, had exhausted its constitutional powers with respect to the election.

It will be recalled that the Returning Officer for the Enugu state gubernatorial election, Prof. Maduebibisi Iwe, had on March 22, announced that Mr Mbah of the PDP polled a total of 160,895 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Chijioke Edeoga of the LP who garnered a total of 157,552 votes.

Whereas the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Frank Nweke Jr, scored 17,983 votes to come a distant third, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Uche Nnaji, placed fourth, with 14,575 votes.

Meanwhile, the group, in a statement that was signed by its Coordinator, Mr Odinaka Okechukwu, noted that INEC had after it initially declared the election as an inconclusive following complaint by LP and its candidate, eventually concluded the process and announced a winner.

It argued that it would amount to anarchy for the electoral body to withhold the Certificate of Return, pending the determination of petitions challenging the outcome of the election.

“We see the latest calls by the Labour Party not only as an attempt to convert the INEC to an Election Petition Tribunal, but also a call for anarchy; and we condemn it in totality.

“All political actors, including the Enugu Labour Party and its governorship candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, must understand that election is a process guided by timelines and various constitutional powers vested in several institutions to ensure the sustenance of our democracy.

“Mounting pressure on one institution to overreach itself will never go well for the nation’s democracy.

“Despite the reported issues, the 2023 governorship  Election in Enugu State was comparatively and substantially free, fair, and credible.

“We, therefore, call on the INEC to disregard the call for a further review of the declared result and go ahead to hand over the Certificate of Return to the declared winner.

“Doing otherwise will be going beyond INEC’s mandate and an invitation to anarchy.

“We also urge the Enugu Labour Party and any other party dissatisfied with the outcome of the election to make use of the provisions of Section 130 of the Electoral Act 2022 by approaching the Election Petition Tribunal with its complaints”, the group added.