Abia North: PDP, Sen Ohuabunwa reject INEC declaration of APC’s Orji Kalu as winner

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State has rejected the result of Senatorial election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abia North Senatorial Zone.

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INEC had declared former governor Orji Kalu winner of the election.

In an meeting of the State Working Committee presided over by State Chairman, Sir Johnson Onuigbo, PDP said “after a critical review of the election, including unlawful manipulations and unjustifiable cancellations, concluded that, at best, the election was inconclusive and should be so declared by INEC”.

The party said, Rule 33(e) of INEC Regulations and Guidelines For The Conduct Of Elections, 2019, stipulates that where the number of cancelled votes outnumber the difference in vote of a ‘leading candidate’, such election shall be deemed to be inconclusive.

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Onuigbo said “From what the Independent National Electoral Commission have as result of Abia-North senatorial election, the gap between the Senatorial Candidate of All Progressives Congress, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, and the Candidate of our Party; Distinguished Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, is only ten thousand and four hundred votes.

“On the other hand, votes cancelled in Arochukwu and Nkporo alone amount to more than thirty-eight thousand.

“By the aforesaid Rule 33(e) of INEC Regulations and Guidelines, Saturday’s senatorial election in Abia-North should have been declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission because the margin of lead between the leading candidates which is 10,400 (ten thousand four hundred) is less than the cancelled votes of over 38,000 (thirty-eight thousand)” .

“Our Party; therefore, rejects the result of Abia-North senatorial election and vehemently demands that INEC complies with extant electoral guidelines by declaring the election inconclusive and consequently fix a date to conclude the election. Our stand is not strange as it has been done in the Ondo South Senatorial Election which INEC declared inconclusive.”

Speaking, Ohuabunwa said: “Announcing Kalu winner of Abia North Senatorial contest is a joke taken too far”, Ohuabunwa told Daily Trust in Abia.

“The total number of canceled votes is 76,889, while the margin of victory is 10,402.

“The difference between margin of victory and canceled votes is 66,487. Can INEC validly declare a winner of that poll?”

Ohuabunwa said the Returning Officer merely announced figures and number of votes secured by each candidate but never declared Kalu winner.

His words: “All results in Bende should have been canceled but the Returning Officer was forced at gunpoint to declare the result for House of Representatives even when he noted 7,601 canceled votes which was more than the margin of 3,547 and he fled afterwards to Umuahia where he issued a statement calling for the cancellation of what he declared.

“Nkporo in Ohafia LGA recorded 21,360 canceled votes in 32 units of two Wards; precisely Ndi Elu – 15 and Ndi Agbo – 17.

“Arochukwu (Senator Mao’s home LGA) recorded 31,284 canceled votes with 72 of 149 Polling Units canceled.

“Elections were canceled at polling units inside Abia State University, Uturu in Isuikwuato LGA with about 19,563 registered voters disenfranchised. That was more than the margin of victory of 3,708 votes recorded for the LGA.”

Meanwhile, the Abia state chapter of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has also condemned the outcome of the senatorial election.