Daily Champion (Lagos)

13 April 2011

Nigeria: Opposition Wants Ebonyi Polls Cancelled

All the major political parties in Ebonyi state yesterday called on the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega to cancel the National Assembly Elections conducted on April 9 in the state.

In a joint press conference in Abakaliki the leadership as well as candidates of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), All Progressives Peoples Alliance (APGA) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) announced the rejection of the results declared by INEC in the state, alleging that elections were marred by irregularities, violence, mutilation of election results, and intimidation of supporters of opposition parties by the State Government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But in a separate press conference in Abakaliki, the House of Representatives candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Ezza North/Ishielu federal constituency, Moses Ogodo Ali Nomeh, who lost the election to the ANPP candidate, Peter Ede has equally called for the cancellation of the result of the elections in his federal constituency.

The opposition parties declared: "In the face of glaring manipulations and malpractices in the 9th April, 2011 National Assembly elections in Ebonyi state, we state in the strongest terms that the said election was marred and could not produce any credible results in the areas. We are therefore calling that the so called election should be cancelled in Ebonyi State and proper election should be organized for the people of Ebonyi State".

The parties stated that if INEC failed to look into the Ebonyi elections and cancel same, the forthcoming April 26 governorship elections would be bloody and may lead to total anarchy.

Speaking on behalf APGA, the governorship candidate, Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu commended the INEC Chairman and President Jonathan for keeping to their promises of conducting free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria but noted that it was not manifested in Ebonyi state.

He accused the law enforcement agents of connivance with the ruling party in the state to intimidate, harass and maim the innocent citizens of the state who came out to exercise their civic responsibilities.

Ogbuewu noted that there were multiple thumbs printing which was done in private homes, money being distributed to electoral officers, police at the polling units while some voters were forced to vote against their consciences based on threat by government officials.

In his speech, the governorship candidate of the ANPP Senator Julius Ucha described the National Assembly election as a 'show of shame' where the present government was so desperate to kill everybody in the state to win an election.

Ucha alleged that the security agents like police, especially military compromised during the election where they were used as agents, thugs to rig the election in favour of the ruling party.

The state chairman of ACN, Elder Samuel Igwe rejected the result of the elections and condemned all the irregularities that surrounded the National Assembly election in the state and called for fresh election that would be conducted under the supervision of INEC in Abuja.

The APGA senatorial candidate for central senatorial district Dr. Emmanuel Onwe, ANPP senatorial candidate for Central, Innocent Ugo Chima, ANPP senatorial candidate for South, Idu Igariwey, ANPP senatorial candidate for North, Chief Fide Nwankwo as well as APGA candidate for Afikpo North\south federal constituency, Mr. Mike Ama Nnachi all spoke in similar vein, calling on the federal government to treat Ebonyi as a special case.

Meanwhile the PDP candidate for Ezza North/Ishielu federal constituency, Nomeh similarly rejected the election the result of election in the constituency, which was won by ANPP, and called on Jega to order the conduct of a fresh poll that will be free from irregularities.

He alleged the elections in the area were characterized by irregularities ranging from snatching of ballot boxes in some major parts of the constituency, shooting of his supporters, kidnapping of the secretary of PDP in his Ezza North local government area as well as falsification of figures generated from polling units.

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