Enugu: APC, PDP trade words over polls | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Enugu: APC, PDP trade words over polls

Posted: Apr 2, 2015 at 2:39 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Emmanuel Nzomiwu  / Correspondent, Enugu

 

Last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections may have come and gone, but the dust generated by the exercise has not settled. In both the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the State, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secured landside victory against the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and others.

In the Presidential election, the candidate of PDP, President Goodluck Jonathan, defeated his main challenger, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of APC.

Ekweremadu, Nwoye and Eze

Ekweremadu, Nwoye and Eze

According to the final result issued to party agents at the Headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the State, Jonathan polled 553,003 votes while Buhari polled 14,157 votes.

Similarly, PDP recorded hundred percent in the National Assembly elections, winning all the three Senatorial and House of Representatives seats in Enugu State.

However, the outcome of the election has thrown the ruling PDP and its main challenger, APC, into a war of words.

Chairman of APC in the state, Dr Ben Nwoye, who spoke with journalists even before the results were declared, accused the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukaogu of conniving with the PDP and security agents to rig the election in favour of the PDP.

Nwoye, who is the Senatorial candidate of the APC in Enugu East Senatorial Zone, alleged that the Enugu REC handed the election materials and result sheets to the PDP candidates in all the senatorial zones in the state.

Nwoye had before the election, called for the removal of the Enugu REC, whom he described as “captain of electoral fraud.”

The chairman, insisted that the result of the Enugu Presidential Election was fraudulent.

“You will recall that when Onukaogu was redeployed from Anambra to Enugu, I raised alarm because of his bad record in the Anambra Election which was adjudged the worst poll in the history of Nigeria.

“It was due to Onukaogu,s alleged electoral fraud that caused the APC the Governorship position  during the last governorship election in Anambra State .PDP stakeholers specifically requested for him because he is an expert in rigging and today, Onukaogu has done that which he knows how best to do “ he stated.

He alleged that violence sponsored by the PDP marred the election at St. Ann and Amachalla polling units in Amuri in Nkanu West Local Government of the state. The result is not acceptable to us and we will not be acceptable to us. The Enugu REC gave the PDP candidates result sheets which they used to write the results.” he alleged.

He said despite their complaints, the Enugu REC denied their agents accreditation tags, adding that it was afte pressure and protest  that he gave some photocopied tags.

But in a swift reaction, PDP described as false, baseless and diversionary the call by the State chapter of APC for the cancellation of the last weekend Presidential and National Assembly elections’ results in the State on the alleged grounds that it connived with the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and security agents, to rig the elections in its favour.

In a statement signed by its State Publicity Secretary, Dr. Okey Eze, the party stated that it was a common knowledge that Enugu is the home-base of PDP in the entire South East geo- political zone since the inception of the party in 1998 and its popularity in the State is formidable and has grown beyond bounds over the years.

Dr. Eze noted that the landside victory the PDP recorded in Enugu State was never a surprise to any unbiased political adherent in the country and beyond, but a true reflection of the party’s strong hold in the State.

He maintained that the trumped-up accusation by the State leadership of the APC was not only an attempt to give their masters some flimsy excuses for the well deserved failure, but also another senseless move to divert the attention of their said masters from the chunk of money that was handed over to them to execute the elections, which eventually disintegrated the party rather than uniting it, following the reported case of the inability of their leaders to account for the monies released.

The PDP spokesman condemned ‘the brazen act of insensitivity and crass desperation’ by the leadership of the APC in the State in spreading false allegations against the PDP, the state leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agents over an elections that was transparent, peaceful, free and fair to the satisfaction of virtually all stakeholders in the State.

Eze also revealed that abysmal failure suffered by the APC was a clear indication of its glaring unpopularity in the State, occasioned by the inability of the party (APC) to convince the people of a defined and realistic development agenda that can outweigh the laudable polices and people-oriented programmes of the PDP government in Enugu State.

He said that no amount of smear campaign, blatant lies and unfounded accusations against the PDP by the opposition APC in the State will affect the swelling popularity and acceptability the party (PDP) enjoys in the State and its chances in winning all the remaining elections.

The party therefore called on the electoral umpire and general public to disregard the allegations by the opposition APC as they were meant to mislead, blackmail, and discredit the peaceful exercise in the state.

The war of words between PDP and APC notwithstanding, our correspondent who covered the election, observed that apart from the bomb explosion incident and reported abduction of eight INEC officials at Enugu East local government area, the election was relatively peaceful in Enugu State.

There was large turnout of voters in many polling stations across the State while accreditation started in many polling stations in the State by 7.30am.

There were however few cases of accreditation started behind the scheduled 7.am.

For instance, at Nike Town Hall polling station, the Senator representing Enugu East, Gilbert Nnaji told journalists that the INEC officials arrived a bit late, but the accreditation commenced in earnest.

Nnaji who spoke at about 9.am said while the accreditation went on well, there were many cases of failure of the card reader to verify fingerprints of voters who came with their voter cards. At Edinburgh Road Primary School, accreditation started around 7.30am.

Following the bomb explosion at W.T.C Primary School which scared voters’ away, accreditation started a bit behind schedule at the two polling units within that location, but there was still large turn out of voters at the centre.

But reports from Igbo-Eze North local government area indicated that INEC officials did not show up anywhere at the local government until around 1.pm.

An indigene of the area that simply identified himself as Mr. Abugu told our correspondent that  accreditation did not start anywhere in Igbo-Eze North until about 1.pm.

Our correspondent observed that accreditation started early in most polling units in Agbani Nkanu West local government area where there was large turnout of voters.

At Mpu in Aninri local government area, the accreditation commenced on schedule but with complains of massive failure of the card reader.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Nwanneka, failed the accreditation and had to complete the incident forms before they could cast their votes.

Ekweremadu told journalists in an interview that the card reader should be discarded for now and used for future elections to ensure that Nigerians were not denied their right to vote. Voting started early in some places in Enugu.

But in places where there were hitches as a result of card reader failure, INEC extended the commencement of voting to 3.pm.