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INEC suspends rescheduled supplementary poll in Abia

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections in seven local government areas in Abia State.

INEC’s Head of Voter Education and Publicity in Abia State, Mrs. Rebecca Jim, who announced this in a statement, said a new date would be communicated in due time.

She said: “The proposed election in polling units where election could not hold on Saturday, February 25, 2023, in Abia State, scheduled for Monday, February 27, 2023, has been put on hold.

“You shall be communicated in due course on a new date.

“All inconveniences are highly regretted.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the INEC Administration Secretary in charge of Abia State, Mr. Clement Oha, had, on Sunday, addressed reporters in Umuahia, the state capital, about the proposed election.

He said the election would be held at various polling units in Aba North, Aba South, Arochukwu, Obingwa, Osisioma, Ohafia and Umuahia North local government areas.

Oha explained that the fresh poll was due to result of various degrees of discrepancies in the procedures that were violent to some extent.

“The commission in their wisdom felt that the credibility of the election should not be compromised, and that there should be no winner by default.

“So, election must take place in the affected polling units tomorrow (Monday),” he had said.

Also, there shall be supplementary election in Anambra West and Anambra East Federal Constituency as INEC has detected over-voting in two polling units.

The Returning Officer, Dr. Ugochukwu Okafor, spoke yesterday at Otuocha in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Okafor noted that while the total number of accredited voters in the two affected polling units was 1,113, the total votes cast were 28,579.

He explained that at Polling Unit 004 at Umualum Square in Aguleri Ward 2, 555 voters were accredited, while at Polling Unit 007 at Umugalagu, also in Aguleri Ward 2, 558 voters were accredited.

He added that at the end of vote-counting, Mr. Peter Anaekwe of the Labour Party (LP) led with 14,847 votes, while Chief Chinedu Obidigwe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) got 13,782 votes.

Obidigwe is the incumbent member of the House of Representatives for the constituency.

Dr. Okafor said in line with INEC regulations and the Electoral Act 2022, a new date shall be fixed to conduct fresh election in the two polling units.

Also, the INEC yesterday cancelled results of 74 polling units in six local government areas of Kogi over thuggery and failed BVAS that characterised Saturday’s polls.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) listed the LGAs involved to include: Okehi, Umala, Ulama-Boro, Ofu, Yagba East and Ibaji out of several others that suffered similar fate.

The most affected was Okehi Local Government Area, where the state government had dug some of its roads, few days to the election, to ward off criminal elements from gaining access to the area.

Okehi Collation Officer, Dr. Emeka Oguju, who presented the results to the State Collation Officer, Prof. Wahab Egbewale, at the Kogi Collation Centre, said results of 31 polling units were cancelled due to thuggery.

Ogujo said 12,037 votes were cancelled in the 31 polling units in four wards, which voting materials were carted away by political thugs.

“In most affected polling units, there were violence caused by political thugs who invaded the units and disrupted the entire process,” he said.

The Collation Officer for Umala Local Government Area, Dr. L. Adang, told the State Collation Officer at the Situation Room at INEC State Office that 16 wards were affected by thuggery during the exercise.

According to him, 9,558 votes were cancelled in the affected polling units of the area.

Also presenting his results, Dr. Adamu Wakili, Collation Officer for Olama-Boro Local Government Area, added that 3,582 votes in five polling units were cancelled due to thuggery and non-functional BVAS during the general elections of Saturday.

“Aside the activities of political thugs that affected the election in our area, we had an issue with two BVAS which couldn’t function because of the remoteness of the community it was taken to and ineptness of the Presiding Officer.

“We tried to see whether it could work, but we couldn’t and only five units in that community were affected. We have reported that to the REC,” he said.

Also, Ibaji LGA’s Collation Officer, Prof. Dauda Tanko, said that results of 11 polling units were cancelled in the area as a result of thuggery.

Tanko, who did not specify the number of votes affected by the cancellation, said four Registration Areas were affected by the activities of political thugs.

NAN had reported the cancellation of results of 11 polling units in Ofu and Yagba East local government areas of Kogi State also due to the activities of political thugs and failed BVAS.

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