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16,170 votes annulled in Abi LGA over election violence

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• Abia APC, APGA reject polls, seek nullification, rerun
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s Returning Officer for Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State, Professor Simon Ering, yesterday cancelled 16,170 votes due to violence in most polling units of the area.He said election did not take place in 23 polling units at Igoligoli, Itigidi, Imabana and Ekureku communities.

He explained that in Igoligoli, a riverine area, hoodlums capsized a boat conveying electoral materials to polling units.But in spite of violence recorded, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 13,035 votes, while All Progressive Congress (APC) scored 7,387 votes out of 21,378 accredited votes from 56,591 registered voters.

However, midway into the collation of results in Umuahia, Abia State, some persons who identified themselves as members of APC, disrupted the proceedings, saying they rejected the election outcome demanding its cancellation and a rerun.They insisted on reading out their prepared protest letter against the advice of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Joseph Iloh, asking him to deliver the letter to INEC’s office.

After reading the letter and handing it over to Iloh, he (Iloh) observed that it was handwritten, without a date and reference and addressed to INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu and not the REC.Two of the conveyors of the protest letter identified themselves as retired Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Azubuko Uddah and former member of the House of Representatives, Acho Obioma.

They, however, left the collation hall without making copies to journalists who asked for them.Also, about 30 minutes later, the state All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chairman who is also Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) read out APGA’s stand on the election, saying his party rejected the results, asking for a nullification and a rerun.

Both petitioners argued that the elections were not conducted in accordance with the law and INEC’s guidelines.Thereafter, the state Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Professor Benjamin Ozumba, continued with the collation exercise, which had results of only four local government areas for presentation.


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