From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) has formally rejected the result of Abia North Senatorial district re-run election held on March 5 on the premise that the party’s candidate, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu was robbed in the election.
The party also averred that the re-run was marred by irregularities.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja at a world press conference, Chairman, Chief Peter Ameh hinged the party’s rejection of the election on the inconsistency and double declaration of results, where he stressed that it was indecorous to announce one result in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Threatening to deploy all legitimate and legal machinery to reclaim the party’s mandate in Abia North, Chief Ameh accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of compromise and arm-twisting.
Ameh said INEC was inconsistent in declaring the election inconclusive during the morning hours only to declare it conclusive in the evening.
“The National Working Committee of the PPA strongly disagrees with and rejects the result of Abia North senatorial district rerun election announced by 1:45pm on March 5. We state that it is indecorous to announce one result in the morning and another in the afternoon.
“We believe that the decision of the Returning Officer, Dr Ojike Nwankwo, at 7.00am on that day, at the Ohafia collation centre, to cancel the results of some polling units in Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Governments for irregularities and declaring the election inconclusive thereby, incorrect, unfair and even-handed.
“We state that what happened later that same day is a product of compromise and arm-twisting. INEC, having done its duty fairly and correctly in the morning, should never have allowed itself to be prevailed upon to shift ground.
“We call on INEC to revert to the 7.00am result declaration as inconclusive by affirming the cancellation of the controversial polling units in Ohafia and Arochukwu Local Governments.
“When an election is declared inconclusive and members of the political parties that participated in the election were told so, you don’t go back later in the day when everybody has gone home, to announce that the election was conclusive.
“The first declaration of inconclusive was done in front of all participants but, the second declaration was done only in the presence of the PDP when others had left the scene. It was the Residence Electoral Commissioner who declared the second one against electoral rules. This is total electoral robbery and PPA rejects the declared election result and stands by the inconclusive declaration by INEC earlier that morning. We can now see why Chief John Odigie- Oyegun said INEC should be blamed for all the electoral problems in the country. The build-up to a free and fair election is always a problem.
“We have witnessed two re-run elections where PPA lost due to manipulations. In Kogi Central senatorial district election, it was announced inconclusive but declared conclusive within 24 hours. INEC, knowing the polling units PPA have stronghold, has always played pranks in ensuring that elections did not hold there. It was the same, both in Kogi and Abia senatorial district re-run elections.
“We cannot come to terms on why the candidate of our party, whose name is synonymous with victory in Abia State, could be robbed. He was only unable to secure victory because of the rate of electoral crime perpetrated in the state. This daylight electoral robbery should not be allowed to stand. We are calling on the people of Abia North and Nigerians to patiently wait and see us follow this electoral fraud to its logical conclusion,” the PPA boss said.