INEC Suspends Collation of Abia, Enugu Election Results
Nigeria’s 2023 Elections Marred by Violence and Alleged Fraud Claims
Angry voters objected to the delay tactics of the electoral body in releasing the results and the alleged discrepancies in the election results signed by party agents against what was uploaded at INEC portal.
Andrews said: “Obstruction and organised violence limited the free expression of the will of the voters, despite efforts by civil society to promote democratic standards.
“Throughout the Mission, we saw that Nigerians have a great appetite for democracy and are keen to engage in various civic activities. However, in many parts of the country, their expectations were not met. Many were disappointed and we witnessed voter apathy that is in part, a clear consequence of failures by political elites, and unfortunately, also by INEC.
The Mission also observed that voting started early with INEC ad-hoc officials present and ready to serve voters, but the exercise was unfortunately, disrupted by “multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation of voters, polling officials, observers, and journalists.”
The Mission noted that Lagos, Kano, and other States in the Southern, Northern and Central parts of the country were mostly affected, adding that the election was equally characterised by casualties, fatalities, as well as vote-buying, which according to the observers, further detracted from an appropriate conduct of elections.
Vote-Buying, Violence, and Overvoting Mars Polls
He said: “The Commission met today, Monday March 20, 2023 and reviewed the conduct of the governorship and state Assembly elections held nationwide on Saturday March 18, 2023. Arising from the meeting, the Commission took the decision to suspend forthwith further collation of the governorship election results in some parts of Abia and Enugu States.
“It will be recalled that our office in Obingwa Local Government Area was invaded by thugs yesterday, Sunday March 19, 2023 and our officials held hostage in relation to the collation of results from the Local Government Area. Similarly, reports from Enugu State call for a review of the results for the governorship election from the two outstanding Local Government Areas of Nsukka and Nkanu East.
“Consequently, the Commission hereby suspends the collation of results in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State and the two outstanding Local Government Areas of Enugu State, which are yet to be collated. A review will be undertaken immediately before the process is concluded.
While LP had complained of over voting in Nkanu East local council on the ground that the area returned over 30,000 votes in favour of the PDP candidate, Peter Mbah, against the 7,000 accredited voters by the BVAS, the PDP protested that there were intimidation and harassment of voters in Nsukka local council. Nsukka had equally returned over 30,000 votes in favour of the LP candidate, Chijioke Edeoga.
Kano Police Threaten to Deal Ruthlessly with Curfew Violators
KANO State police command, yesterday, threatened to deal ruthlessly with any resident who violated the dust to dawn curfew declared by the state government.
The police handed the warning in a statement issued by SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, spokesperson of the command.
“It’s important to note that celebrations should always respect and be mindful of the fact that the people celebrating are inclusive of all people, regardless of political beliefs, religion, or culture.”
APC, PDP, LP and APGA Contest Nigeria’s 2023 Elections
PDP chairman in the state, Francis Orogu, alleged that security personnel and INEC officials connived with the APC to alter the results.
The party’s agent at the state collation centre, Abdulmumini Kundak described the election as a ‘sham’. In a letter of complaint submitted to the Resident Electoral Commissioner titled: “Complaint of massive rigging, violence and electoral malpractice, which marred the Bauchi State governorship election conducted on March 18”, the party called for cancellation of results in affected local government areas.
Governor Mohammed of the PDP was declared winner, having polled 525,280 votes against his closest rival, Sadique Abubakar of the APC who polled 432,272 votes.
Candidates Emerge Winners Across States
He also said there was violence in Toro local council and an operative of the Department of State Service (DSS) was beaten by PDP thugs and was receiving treatment at a hospital. He added that there was gunshot, intimidation, and harassment of APC members.
The party chieftain claimed further that the same was applicable to Warji, Zaki and Kirfi local councils with massive over voting and violence. Kundak declined to assent to the INEC Form EC8 for political party agents.
KADUNA State Government raised security alert ahead of the announcement of the result, claiming intelligence reports indicating plans by some individuals and groups to spread disaffection and instigate violence in Kaduna Metropolis and other major towns in the state.
This followed the declaration of Senator Uba Sani of the ruling APC winner of the election in Kaduna State with a slight margin over the PDP’s, Isa Ashiru.
Declaring the result, the State Collation Officer for Gubernatorial Election (SCOGE), Prof. Lawal Suleiman Bilbis, said the number of registered voters in the state are 4,335,208, accredited voters 1,581,662, valid votes cast are 1,546,747, invalid votes 19,114 and total votes cast 1,565,861.
In Ebonyi State, APC candidate, Francis Nwifuru, was declared winner of the governorship election, defeating his closest opponent, Chief Ifeanyi Odii of the PDP.
Announcing the result at INEC headquarters in Abakaliki, the State Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria Nsukka, Prof. Charles Igwe said Nwifuru polled total votes of 199,131, while Odii got 80,191. APGA polled 52,189 to come third.
Senator Prince Bassey Otu Wins Cross River Governorship Election
INEC also declared the governorship candidate of the APC in Cross River State, Senator Prince Bassey Otu, as winner of the election.
Otu won in 15 out of 18 local councils with 258,619 against the candidate of the PDP, Senator Sandy Onor who polled 179,636 votes, while Mr. Ogar Osim of the LP scored 5,957 votes.