-As Abia PDP calls for removal of Prof. Oko Ozumba
CONTRARY to plans for a supplementary election in some wards and polling units in Abia State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has said that the Professor Attahiru Jega led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will encounter a credibility and integrity crisis if it fails to declare him winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship election.
Ikpeazu who polled 248,459 votes against Dr. Alex Otti of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) who scored 165,407, argued that with 83, 053 votes ahead of Otti, that he is already a winner and should have been so declared by the electoral umpire.
He also said it is obvious that both the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Abia State, Professor (Mrs.) Selina Oko and the Returning Officer, Professor Benjamin Ozumba, didn’t hide their bias in declaring the Abia governorship election inconclusive, where there is a clear winner with wide margin.
“The case of Abia State governorship election result will definitely raise so much credibility and integrity questions against Professor Jega and INEC. It is unheard of that in an election where the winner has 83,053 votes against loser is declared inconclusive.
“INEC has accepted and announced result from the 17 local government areas of Abia, and I scored 248,459 while Alex Otti got 165,406, which means that Otti has 83,053 votes deficit. Instead of declaring me winner, the Resident Electoral Commission for Abia State, Professor Mrs. Celina Oko, who I later got to understand is a relative of Otti, got a willing partner in the person of Professor Ozumba.
“Going from the result already announced and entered into INEC form EC8D, by INEC which is summary of results from the 17 local government areas of Abia State, collated at the state level, declared and duly signed by Professor Benjamin Ozumba, and all the accredited agents of political parties in the state collation center in Umuahia, including Chief Ahamdi Nweke of APGA, and Dr. Solomon Ogunji of the PDP, shows I am the winner of the election.
“In that result, the number of registered voters is 1,217,632. Number of accredited voters is 470,900; total valid votes is 430,561, rejected votes is 8,893 and total votes cast is 439,454. PDP has 248,459, while APGA has 165,406, and I have a margin of 83,053 ahead of Otti. What on earth is preventing INEC from seeing that I have made 25 per cent of the votes cast in the 2/3 of the local government areas in the state, and scored majority number of votes cast, and by the provision of the constitution is already a winner.”
Speaking on the call by Otti for the cancellation of result from Obingwa, Dr. Ikpeazu said: “I do not blame Otti because he lacks the knowledge of the voting strength of each local government areas in the state.
“Otti has never bothered to ask why is that since 1999, all the deputy governors that Abia has had are either from Obingwa, Osisioma or Ugwunagbo local government areas, and these three LGAs formed the former Obioma Ngwa Local government. These are the most populated LGAs in Abia. And the three LGAs are politically active.
“Again Obingwa and Osisioma has always produced the highest number of votes in the electoral history of Abia. Otti does not know, and I do not expect him to because he is a stranger in Abia politics.
“If Otti is aware of the voting pattern of Abia, he would not have chosen a deputy from his Federal Constituency in Abia North. There are three senatorial districts in Abia, instead of Otti who is from Abia North to choose a deputy from Abia South in other to get votes from there, he went and choose his sister from Ohafia in the same Abia North as his running mate. How does he expect people from Abia South and Central to vote him? He is simply exposing his political naivety.
“Again, Otti failed to understand that the Ukwa/Ngwa people have never been governor since the history of the world, and this is the closer we have come to it. So, our people trooped out in their number to vote me from Isialangwa to Ukwa.
“Again during the presidential election, Obingwa also polled the highest number of votes, so there is no basis for Otti’s allegation. It is unfortunate his desperation has pushed him too far that he doesn’t even know when to stop,” Dr. Ikpeazu told ENCOMIUM Weekly on Saturday, April 18, 2015.
In a related development, the Abia State chapter of the PDP has written Jega, demanding immediate declaration of Ikpeazu as the Governor-elect of the state.
In a letter titled: “Okezie Ikpeazu: winner of Abia governorship race” signed by the state PDP chairman, Senator Emma Nwaka, the party describes the decision of INEC in Abia as a charade, stressing that it can’t fathom the basis for not declaring Ikpeazu.
“We are constrained to call your attention to the charade going on in Abia State chapter of your commission under Professor Selina Oko. Under her watch, Professor Benjamin Ozumba as Returning Officer for the governorship election declared the election inconclusive contrary to every available evidence. It is difficult to fathom the basis on which the Returning Officer instead of declaring Ikpeazu of PDP the winner of the Abia governorship election, opted to declare it inconclusive.”
Citing various relevant provisions of the constitution and the Electoral Act, the Abia PDP said: “INEC is left with no option than to declare Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu winner of the 2015. It is to be noted that the number of registered voters is irrelevant in the determination of the person who is duly elected at the close of polls.
“However, if INEC, of any reason insists on the rerun, PDP will insist that the Resident Electoral Commission, Professor Selina Oko, and Professor Benjamin Ozumba, the Returning Officer both whom have clearly demonstrated their bias against the winner.