Abia North Election: Returning Officer Rejects Results
The Returning Officer (RO) for Abia North presidential and National Assembly election, Dr. Ihekweeaba Chukwugoziem told journalists about 6pm in Umuahia on Thursday. “I have not announced anybody the winner of the Abia North Senate election. I am also not aware that Chief Mao Ohuabunwa, the candidate of the PDP won “.
He said that the contacts he made with his colleagues in the five LGAs of Abia North namely Arochukwu, Bende, Isuikwuato, Ohafia showed irregularities in some places adding that at Ohafia, the tension was so charged that their lives became threatened with warning that “ if we give a wrong verdict, none of us will get out of here.”
He said that having sensed this danger and considering that level of irregularities in the Arochukwu results, he sent a text message to the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) informing her of the scenario.
According to him: “The REC instituted a committee to look into the grievances and it was obvious that after looking at the Arochukwu and Ohafia LGAs results, there were massive irregularities in Arochukwu.
“I thank God that we had some security operatives including the SSS and I knew they were taking the records.
“As a law abiding citizen and knowing fully well the burden of what position I was given to return results of the elections that were duly taken care of, I found it difficult to append my signature on the Returning Document.”
According to him, he formally suggested the repeat or re run of the election to the REC.
When contacted yesterday, the state INEC Head of Voter Education and Media , Mr. Edwin Enarbor, who also announced the results on behalf of the REC, told The Guardian that when the Ihemweeaba was not seen for days and did not make contact with INEC even when INEC tried severally to contact him on phone, another person was appointed to replace him as the RO for Abia North.
According to Enarbor, if Ihekweeaba did not agree with the results made available to him, he would have so objected formally and not abscond from his duty post and responsibility for days after polls.
But Ihekweeaba told journalists that he switched off his phone following several threats being made to him through his telephone and insisted that he was unaware of the results released.
He called for a re-run of the election in which former governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, was the candidate of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) and Dr. David Ogba Onuoha of the APGA.
According to the results announced, Onuoha came second and Kalu third. But both of them have rejected the results, claiming to be winners, based on the results they said were announced at the polling units.