Cross River Court Affirms APC Governorship Candidate
A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, has declared Senator Prince Bassey Otu as the authentic All Progressives Congress governorship candidate for the 2023 elections.
A governorship aspirant, Senator Owan Enoh, had gone to court, seeking the disqualification of Senator Otu as the governorship candidate of the APC.
Justice Ojukwu, on Monday, while delivering judgment in the suit, said, “A candidate contesting for the position of the governor must be a Nigerian, meet the stipulated age requirement and have basic qualifications according to the constitution.”
She emphasised that the matter of determination of the governorship candidate of a political party still remained the right of a political party.
The judgement ended months of anxiety and tension in the state.
Enugu 2023 Gubernatorial Elections: An Assault on Our Democracy – Frank Nweke Jr
I will begin this address by thanking you for the warm welcome into your homes, businesses, and digital spaces throughout the duration of the gubernatorial campaigns. Your investment of hope and trust in my candidacy was a constant boost of inspiration for me and my team. It remains so even today.
The elections have come and gone, and with it a multitude of infringements on our democratic process, an assault on our desires and our hope for our great state. I celebrate everyone who came out to participate in the democratic process in spite of the challenges, threats and intimidation reported across the State. Your determination is a sign of the awakening that has taken place; and I encourage you to keep your hope alive. Do not despair and do not be discouraged by the unfortunate challenges that have beset our current democratic experience.
I often said during my campaign that I would offer my congratulations and best wishes to whoever emerged in a fair and transparent manner. This election was far from fair and certainly, not transparent.
The violence, thuggery, intimidation, use of divisive sentiments, and the weaponization of poverty against our people, which the Peoples Democratic Party deployed in the course of the campaign and the elections reflect the desperation of the Party to hold on to power against the will of the people. It was never about service or the good of ndi Enugu; and the impunity with which these wicked acts were carried out is sickening.
Just before midnight on Friday, March 17, 2023, another piece of propaganda was released and distributed aggressively to insinuate that I had stepped down for Peter Mbah, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party. This recurrent lie may be referred to as a “political strategy” but we must call a lie what it is – the absence of integrity, a quality most desired in our government today. We would also discover in the course of the day that agents and canvassers at polling units told voters the same story that I had stepped down on the morning of the election.
Very early in the morning of Saturday, March 18, town criers travelled through several communities in Enugu state ordering anyone who would not vote in favour of the People’s Democratic Party to stay home.
The House of Assembly candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance for Udenu Constituency was attacked and almost killed on the morning of the election, while five polling units within his jurisdiction were cordoned off by police and military officers.
At various polling units across the State, PDP thugs, party members, hired criminals and some compromised members of the police and military threatened voters at polling units and chased those who could not be bought over or intimidated into voting for the PDP. In Nsukka, voters recorded and reported gunshots at polling units allegedly instigated by the Labour Party.
The most vulnerable and impoverished became prey to vote buying by the People’s Democratic Party and the Labour Party with as little as N500 or packets of noodles in some places. At Udenu, both parties competed for the votes of our people with N2,000, a plate of Jollof rice, Okpa, and a bottle of soda. I feel ashamed that this is what our people are worth to some who seek to lead them. I am even more embarrassed by the so-called enlightened citizens who have lost sight of the implications of these actions.
The PDP also secured the assistance of the INEC agents to rig the election, offering cash or issuing threats as the situation demanded.
Only a few polling unit agents uploaded their results directly on IREV as provided by INEC, and fake result sheets were used to rewrite and manipulate the results of vote counts at the polling units before the falsified results of the elections were uploaded to the IREV. Some of these result sheets are also completely blurred on the portal.
The collation centres at the local government headquarters were completely hijacked by thugs and compromised security operatives, and party agents other than the agents of the PDP were not allowed access to any stage of the collation process until Sunday morning. At 7:20 pm on election day, shots were fired sporadically at the Nkanu West collation centre in Agbani, while the military stood aside and watched. Similar breaches of the law and subversion of the electoral process occurred across many locations in the State.
At the start of this campaign, I said emphatically that no ambition is worth the life of any individual. My sentiments about this have not changed. It is unfortunate that those who seek to govern our state are comfortable with expending the lives of citizens as political collateral damage.
The elections of March 18, 2023 in Enugu State were a complete sham. They were not fair. They were not free. And they were not credible.
Yet, none of these actions came as a surprise. Weeks before the election, and consistently, we shared detailed intelligence reports of the impending disaster with the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies.
We consistently received assurances and chose to believe that our democracy would be protected in the face of the desperate plans for subterfuge.
It is unfortunate that resolute actions were not taken to avert the threats we reported. Again, we saw that the problem is not democracy itself. The problem is the people and institutions that we rely upon to manage our democracy.
The entire process, down to the declaration of its winner is a complete farce and will lack legitimacy for as long as it stands.
The results of Nkanu East local government area which were contested, got reviewed and revised by the national office of INEC without any basis given for the change in numbers. If it was a case of over-voting, the expectation is that the result from the local government area should have been cancelled.
It does seem that the numbers were simply manufactured to fit a preprogrammed outcome and read out to the public, as can be inferred from the Returning Officer of INEC in the state, Prof Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe’s comments about acting under authority and reading out what he had been given.
I am utterly disappointed with the manner in which the Independent National Electoral Commission handled the 2023 elections. I am also saddened by the actions of some members of our security agencies. Both of these institutions of State let the people down when they became compromised by a few desperate power mongers and looters. The unchecked intimidation and violence, the massive rewriting of results and the overall abuse of the people’s will would have failed if not done in connivance with the electoral umpire and members of our security agencies.
Yet, as I said, ndi banyi, do not be discouraged. If the past year has revealed anything, it is that the power truly resides with the people. The criminal activities of March 18 and the events that preceded it in the few weeks leading to the election were a testament to the fear instilled in the incumbent party by the people.
We must not relent now. In fact, the journey has only just begun. We must keep engaging the system and these institutions. No matter how long it takes, we will take back our state.
There are far too many people suffering, impoverished and bereft of hope for us who know what should be done to be quiet. For the children in Iva Valley, Ugwu Peak, Bunker and other slums, we must keep going. For the woman in Awgu who came to sell her wares in the market holding her two weeks’ old baby, we must keep going. For our aged parents who are owed their pensions and gratuities and for our young graduates who see no hope of a future in their homes, we will keep going.
We must not lose faith in our democracy or in Enugu State. As individuals and collectively, we must keep pursuing our rights to choose our leaders, to good governance, and to experience the dividends of democracy.
I have no problem losing an election to the will of the people. But when this will has been subverted, we have no choice but to review the entire process and the outcome.
We will explore and exhaust every action required to ensure the legitimacy of the next government in Enugu State. You cannot hold accountable something that was acquired by illegitimate means.
Once more, we thank our supporters and everyone who believed and came on this journey with us.
God bless you all.
God bless Enugu state.
Breaking: Labour Party Candidate, Alex Otti Wins Abia Governorship Election
The Labour Party candidate, Alex Otti, has been declared the winner of the Abia State governorship election following the eventual declaration, on Wednesday, of the results of the controversial Obingwa Local Government Area results.
With the conclusion of the collation of the outstanding results of the election, the Peoples Democratic Party scored 9,962 votes and while the Labour Party, 3,776 votes in the LGA.
Consequently, the LP has won in 10 LGAs, the PDP in six LGAs, and the Young Peoples Party in one LGA.
The governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Abia State, Chief Alex Otti, was, consequently declared the winner of the 2023 governorship election in Abia State.
Otti polled a total of 175,466 to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the PDP who scored 88,526.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Nnenna Oti, declared the LP candidate the winner at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Umuahia, the state capital, Wednesday afternoon after completing the suspended collation of results.
The distribution of the governorship election results across the 17 LGAs of Abia State is as follows:
(1) Aba North
APC – 487
(2) Aba South
APC – 487
APGA – 1470
LP – 20,974
PDP – 4146
YPP – 2296
APC – 2143
YPP – 1667
(6) Isialangwa North
APC – 838
(7) Isialangwa South
APC – 1580
APC – 872
APC – 721
APC – 1354
APGA – 945
APP – 1013
LP – 11,848
PDP – 4128
YPP – 667
APC – 504
APGA – 292
APP – 123
LP – 7032
PDP – 4697
YPP – 8839
(13) Ukwa East
APC – 560
YPP – 759
(14) Ukwa west
APC – 1209
YPP – 890
(15) Umuahia North
APC – 7225
APGA – 1816
APP – 905
LP – 27668
PDP – 4843
YPP – 2999
(16) Umuahia South
APC – 1398
APGA – 1841
LP – 16,187
PDP – 4564
YPP – 323
APP – 562
APC – 2034
YPP – 314
INEC Resumes Collation Of Governorship Poll Results In Abia, Enugu
The Independent National Electoral Commission will today (Wednesday) resume the collation of Enugu and Abia states governorship election results.
This was made known in a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, on Wednesday.
The PUNCH reports that the INEC’s office in Obingwa Local Government Area in Abia State was invaded by thugs on Sunday, March 19, 2023, and its officials were held hostage in relation to the collation of results from the Local Government Area.
Similarly, reports from Enugu State called for a review of the results of the governorship election from the two outstanding Local Government Areas of Nsukka and Nkanu East.
The Commission said the entire process would be reviewed before it is concluded.
After reviewing, the collation of governorship results in both states will continue today.
The statement read, “It will be recalled that the Commission met on Monday 20th March 2023 and reviewed the conduct of the Governorship and State Assembly elections held nationwide on Saturday 18th March 2023.
“Arising from the meeting, the Commission took the decision to suspend further collation of the Governorship election results in some parts of Abia and Enugu States in order to carry out a review of the collation processes in both States.
“The Commission has concluded the review. Consequently, the collation of results for the Governorship election in both Abia and Enugu States will continue today 22nd March 2023.
“The Commission appreciates the patience and understanding of the people of both states as we conclude the collation processes.”