Governor Ikpeazu Slams INEC After Losing Abia South Election To Abaribe
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has opposed the declaration of Enyinnaya Abaribe as the winner of the Abia South senatorial election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Tuesday announced that the incumbent lawmaker won with 49,693 votes.
Chinedu Onyeizu, the candidate of the Labour Party, LP, secured 43,903 votes while Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, polled 28,422 votes.
Prof. Georgina Ugwuanyi, the Returning Officer, also announced LP’s Emeka Nnamani won Aba South and North federal constituency with 35,502 votes.
On Wednesday, the governor stated that INEC should not have declared his rival in the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, the winner.
He wondered why a declaration was made after the commission confirmed polls were not conducted in 108 polling units in Obingwa, Aba South and Abia North.
Ikpeazu, through the PDP collation agent Charles Esonu, said the affected units have 200,000 cumulative voters, more than the votes of all parties.
The Governor claimed over 50,000 supporters of the PDP could not vote due to the non-provision/late arrival of electoral materials in the district’s local government areas.
Esonu recalled the initial problem was not knowing when the results the electoral umpire announced for 5 LGAs were lodged in.
“We would have been able to scrutinize. There were several mutilations on the result from Aba South LGA, they also cancelled many units in Aba South.
“Prof. Georgina Ugwunyi, at the collation centre at Constitution Crescent primary school, Aba, declared the election inconclusive.
“This was due to a substantial number of polling units, totalling 108 which had issues requiring a rescheduled election.
“I told her she should not declare any winner because of the margin of lead between the first and second candidates.
“Abaribe was leading with 6,000 votes. The returning officer agreed with party agents that nobody should be declared a winner because of the margin of lead.
“We were shocked Prof. Ugwuanyi later returned to the collation centre in the afternoona and declared a winner, citing orders from above,”
The contest was never going to be easy for Ikpeazu, part of Governor Nyesom Wike-led G5, who had to contend with Abaribe’s support base and the LP wave owing to Peter Obi’s popularity.
A fierce politician, Abaribe January 2020 called for President Muhammadu Buhari’s impeachment during a Senate debate over the spate of insecurity in Nigeria.