Mixed reactions greet Ugwuanyi’s governorship victory in Enugu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Mixed reactions greet Ugwuanyi’s governorship victory in Enugu

Posted: Apr 14, 2015 at 1:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Emmanuel Nzomiwu / Correspondent, Enugu


On Sunday afternoon, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of April 11 governorship election in Enugu State.


Igwuanyi and Ezea

Igwuanyi and Ezea

According to the results announced by the Returning Officer, Professor Hilary Edoga, Ugwuanyi polled 482,277 votes to emerge winner, while his main opponent, Okechukwu Ezea of All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 43,837.

A total of 19 political parties fielded candidates for the governorship polls in the State.

Prior to the declaration of the results, Enugu State chapter of APC submitted a petition to the Resident Electoral Commission (REC) requesting for the total cancellation of the election.

In the petition signed by its State Chairman, Ben Nwoye, APC Enugu State alleged that the election was marred by widespread rigging, violence, kidnapping, ballot stuffing, ballot box snatching and all other forms of fraud committed by agents, principal officers, supporters and government officials serving the interest of PDP.

According to the petition, it is more appalling to note that the aforementioned practices were executed with the assistance and acquiescence of INEC ad-hoc staff, youth corps members and security agents entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring free, fair and transparent elections in the State.

After summarizing some of the illegal acts allegedly perpetrated by PDP and their partners in crime at various local government areas, APC stated: “the totality of our experience and observation is that there was a break down of law and order. The security officers were compromised and INEC personnel were also compromised with financial inducement from PDP. Therefore, we respectfully request for a total cancellation of the election conducted on April 11, 2015 for Enugu State House of Assembly and Governorship election. We request that the election be rescheduled for such time as when security of lives of APC members and supporters could be protected.”

Similarly, in a post election press conference at his campaign office on Sunday, Ezea described the election as a sham.

Ezea who was supported by his running mate, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku and Dr Nwoye, said the election was marred by serious violence, ballot box snatching, intimidation and harassment of APC agents.

He alleged that the PDP and Ugwuanyi imported over 5000 thugs into the State, especially in Nsukka area where they had a field day, operating under the protection of policemen drafted from Enugu Government House and the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Ezea said contrary to the directive of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) that election should not go on anywhere result sheets were not available at the polling unit, with the combined support of police and thugs, election took place in places were result sheets were not available.

“INEC said the election should be postponed where card readers were not working so that the card readers could be reconfigured. Where the card readers did not work, they used manual accreditation to give themselves figures suitable to them.

“As far as I am concerned the entire election is a massive fraud. Most of you saw it. In my village, there was a deliberate attempt to make sure that no election took place” Ezea said.

Nwoye recounted that he submitted a petition to the Resident Electoral Commission, calling for the cancellation of the entire election and rescheduling it for a new date but it was ignored.

Nwoye recalled that he earlier raised alarm about the antecedents of the Resident Electoral Commission in Anambra State where he earned notoriety for rigging election but nothing was done.

Lending her voice, Mrs. Ibekaku who is a lawyer like her principal, Ezea, said they would use every lawful means to challenge the election, which she said, did not meet the minimum standard required by the Electoral Law.

But, the Enugu State chapter of PDP in a statement by its spokesman, Okey Eze, described the election as free, fair and transparent and commended INEC for the successful conduct of the election.

The party congratulated Ugwuanyi on his victory in the polls

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu also congratulated Ugwuanyi on his victory in the April 11, 2015 governorship election.

In a statement on Sunday, Senator Ekweremadu said Ugwuanyi’s victory was very much expected as the PDP was not only the party on ground in Enugu State, but also because of Ugwuanyi’s overwhelming popularity across the State.

“This is a well deserved victory. Enugu has always been a PDP State since 1999. We also marketed an unbeatable product in the person of Hon. Ugwuanyi. Therefore, the election was more of a coronation ceremony.

“Ugwuanyi is a man with a good heart; he is very knowledgeable about Enugu politics, he has garnered experience from the centre as a ranking Member of the House of Representatives, he is a grassroots person, and he has a clear vision about what he has set out to achieve; hence I have no doubt that Gburugburu will take Enugu State to greater heights” Ekweremadu said.

Senator Ekweremadu called on all those who contested against the PDP candidate to join hands with him to move the State forward.

Our correspondent who monitored the election observed that it was marred by widespread apathy.

The electoral officials were already seated at most polling units across the state by 7.am, but as at 10 am only very few voters reported for accreditation.

In Enugu metropolis, many youths of voting age were seen playing football along the major streets which had no traffic as a result of the restriction of vehicular movement during the election period.

Our correspondent observed that the adults preferred to stay at home rather than come out and participate in the election.

Speaking with journalists at his polling unit at Iji Nike Hall, Senator Gilbert Nnaji blamed the low turnout on the people’s disappointment with the outcome of the election two weeks ago.

Nnaji attributed the low turnout yesterday to the defeat suffered by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Dr Goodluck Jonathan who majority of the people in Enugu voted for two weeks ago.

Reacting to the low turnout,Hon Ugwuanyi who was accredited to vote at his Amube Orba ward in Udenu local government area by 11.am, said he was not in position to say why people did not come out as he was restricted to his polling unit.

Ugwuanyi however expressed happiness that the election was peaceful and hoped that he would get the mandate of the people to take the state to the next level.

There were reports that the election at Ichi hometown of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Ezea was disrupted by skirmishes that left at least three persons seriously injured.

The APC candidate also alleged in a text message he sent to our correspondent that the Chairman of Uzo Uwani local government area, Cornel Onwubuya used thugs and chased APC supporters away from their polling units.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu who spoke with journalists after voting at his Amachalla Mpu ward in Aninri LGA, also described the election as very peaceful and hitch-free.

Quite unlike the presidential and national assembly elections held two weeks ago, that recorded high failure of card readers, there were fewer complaints about its failure in yesterday’s election.