Tension in Anambra, A’Ibom, Abia, Edo, Rivers over polls | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

News, Slider

Tension in Anambra, A’Ibom, Abia, Edo, Rivers over polls

Posted: Apr 9, 2015 at 1:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Francis Onoiribholo (Benin City), Chukwujekwu Ilozue (Awka), Idongesit Ashameri (Uyo), Emeka Okafor (Umuahia), Onoja Audu (Jos) and Chinwendu Nnadozie (Minna)


There is palpable tension across the country, ahead of Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections in which the two major parties seek to either confirm their new found winning streak, or prove that the March 28 election was a fluke.

Already, there are allegations and counters in various states among the major political parties accusing one another of perfecting plans to rig the poll.

On Wednesday, in Anambra State for example, there were protests by eight different youth groups, disrupting activities in major cities of the state. The groups lamented the outcome of March 28 elections, urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to redeploy the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Edwin Ofor Nwatarali and other principal officers.

The protesters under the aegis of ‘Igbo Youth Groups for Defence of Igboland,’ stormed Awka and disrupted activities in the state capital. All wearing black T-shirts and red ribbon on their heads, they later marched on Agulu, former Governor Peter Obi’s home town, Ekwulobia, Onitsha and ended up in Nnewi where they complained about the election to late Igbo leader, Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.

They carried placards some of which read: “We say no to rigging”, “We say no to second planned rigging; we reject your rigged National Assembly election; On April 11 our votes 2015 our votes must count”, and so on.

In an address by a leaders of one of the groups, Uche Madugadi, he castigated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for engaging in open rigging, warning that “Anambra Youths are battle ready to defend and protect our people’s votes and fatherland from the political criminals and thieves who have no regards for the welfare of Ndi Anambra.”

Abia State governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Alex Otti, on Wednesday in Umuahia, alleged that the PDP is perfecting plans to rig the election, expressing his party’s readiness for a free, fair poll.

Otti said: “Our immediate concern is on the available intelligent information that we have received that PDP led government wants to do every thing possible to ensure the 11th April Election is not credible.

“We have heard of hoodlums being imported into Abia, a lot of them are in Aba, Umuahia, they also have planned to compromise INEC, we have heard of transition committee chairmen ho have been given mandate to ensure that the election is rigged in their different Local Council Areas.

“We have heard about the removal of four transition committee chairmen, that of Aba North/ South and Umuahia North/South, we understand that the major reason that decision was taken is because they failed to rig the 28th March election in the favour, their replacement has to go with mandate that they should deliver their local government areas for the PDP.

“What happened on the 28th March is an eye opener, where transition committee chairmen were used to manipulate the collation process, they were used to deliver fake results. We are also aware that a meeting was held with the 17 local government council Head of Service, and the available information is that they are the people that would be used to do the collation at their various local government rather than the Collation officers who by the plans with INEC would not show up,” he added.

In Plateau State, the APC also accused the PDP of perfecting a rigging plot, an allegation the party’s campaign organisation in the state chapter denies.

A statement by Edward Ringkwat, deputy chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee on Wednesday, accused the APC’s Letep Dabang of creating imaginary scenarios, just to weep unnecessary sentiments to sway voters from the PDP’s governorship candidate, Senator GNS Pwajok, whose campaign is based on issue-driven.

In Akwa Ibom, a group, Buhari Friends Organisation Network, Akwa Ibom State chapter, is seeking the immediate redeployment of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Austin Okojie, and the state Commissioner of Police, Gabriel Achong before Saturday.

Events during the presidential and National Assembly elections, the group said, showed that the duo had compromised their positions.

Coordinator of the group, Sylvanus Nyauko, in Uyo on Wednesday expressed doubt that the polls would be transparent, free and fair, if both men be allowed to take charge.

“We have stood firm on this and the party will do everything possible to make sure that we do not stand elections under the leadership of these people.

“Once this is done; then we know there will be a fair ground to contest election, which Umana Umana, the APC governorship candidate will continue to win as it happened on March 28.

“We know the population of Akwa Ibom State. For Buhari to be given 58,000 votes against over 900,000 votes for (President) Jonathan, did not represent the actual voting strength of the people of Akwa Ibom State. This showed that something went wrong.

In Edo State, it is the PDP and the state REC, Mike Igini on war path over alleged plans by the umpire to discard the card reader in the conduct of rescheduled election into Orhionmwon local government area and some of the wards in five councils in Edo South senatorial district of the state and Saturday’s house of assembly elections in the state.

State chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, is reportedly leading a delegation of party leaders and their senatorial candidate for Edo South Senatorial district, Matthew Urhoghide to protest the decision in Abuja. They are protesting Igini’s decision to conduct the rescheduled National Assembly election in the entire Orhiomwon LGA, when results were already collated in seven the wards.

Hundreds of youths loyal to the PDP laid siege on INEC headquarters in the state with placards, demanding the use of card readers in all the rescheduled and State House of Assembly elections, as well as to release the results of the seven wards in Orhionmwon. They urged the commission to ensure that manipulation is not encouraged during the scheduled exercise, just as it must shun all forms of bias.

Orbih who addressed a press conference before leading the delegation to Abuja, told newsmen: “Our position is that we reject INEC proposition. For now we have results in seven wards in Orhionmwon and we are waiting for INEC to conduct elections in the remaining five wards.

According to him, “as umpire saddled with the responsibility, the rule of the game must be observed fully, fairly and impartially and it will be illegal if INEC goes on to force on our throat, the conduct of elections which took place and results issued. Nobody has the right under the law to cancel results announced by INEC except the tribunal.”

He said the party would win the elections in all the remaining wards, so as to complete the circle of celebration and urged voters to ensure they elect candidates of the party to give the PDP majority in the state Assembly to ensure proper checks and balance on the government of the day in the state.

“Voting for the PDP dominated state house of assembly will be a step towards taking over Edo state government house during the next governorship elections and to guarantee secured job for all and positive good governance.”

The senatorial candidate of the PDP Matthew Urhoghide noted with dismay that certificates of return had already been issued to winners of the House of Representatives in the three federal constituencies in the south senatorial district, questioning INEC’s rationale for conducting fresh polls in the affected areas considering the party’s lead in the outcome of the exercise held in the zone.

It was also another kind of allegation in Niger, where the state’s PDP raised alarm about plans by the APC to clone card readers in Saturdays’ polls

Director General of the State PDP Campaign Organisation, Aminu Yusuf Wushishi, said the APC is in possession of cloned Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) ahead of the election.

To perfect their plans, Wushishi said some trusted supporters of the APC have already undergone two-day training in Abuja on how to manipulate the card readers with the cloned PVCs to give undue advantage to the APC in the election.

Wushishi said about 1,566 of the cloned PVC’s have already been recovered by security operatives from the spot where the final plan was being made. It was learnt that the Card readers to be used are still being expected from Abuja.

The PDP according to him is disturbed by this latest revelation and wants the police in the state to investigate and get to the root of the matter.

But in Rivers, alleged the PDP of planning a fresh wave of politically-motivated violence even as the Judicial Commission of Enquiry recently set up by the State Government prepares to commence work on its assignment. Raising the alarm Wednesday in Port Harcourt, Chairman of the APC, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said the PDP is planning to sponsor attacks and the killing of its members with a view to blaming it on APC.