By-election: Confusion in Enugu as INEC fails to present result sheets

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By-election: Confusion in Enugu as INEC fails to present result sheets

There was heavy protest in Enugu on Saturday following the conduct of the by-election proposed for Enugu South Urban state constituency by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Members of the Labour Party who converged at the Robinson Primary School, Uwani and Uwani Secondary School, where the election was supposed to hold, raised an alarm in protest,  accusing the election umpire of failing to present result sheets for the election.

However, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who held a counter protest said that they have seen the result sheets, insisting that the election must hold as planned.

The by-election is held in only eight polling units at the Robinson Primary School, Uwani and Uwani Secondary School, situated on the same street.

As at 2:00 pm, the election is yet to commence despite the huge presence of both military, police and DSS operatives.

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Chukwuemeka Chukwu, however arrived at the venue of the election at about 11:40 am with photocopies of 2023 result sheets, pleading with the already agitated voters to allow for the conduct of the election, a plea which was roundly rejected.

He said, “the political parties demanded that that in line with the electoral act the result be shown to them. So when I got the information I quickly rushed to this place to calm the situation down and proffer solutions. In line with the electoral act of the result is missi, what we are going to issue is replacement.

“So I am here to tell the whole world that whatever anybody is saying. In line with the law, if any result sheet is altered before the election, the INEC has every power to issue a replacement result sheet or any material that is tampered with. So here is the replacement of the result sheets. I am going to stamp it and countersign it so that voting will commence shortly in this place.”

When asked the whereabouts of the Electoral Officer and the Supervising Presiding Officer, the REC said he did not know. He also claimed ignorance of what happened to the original result sheets.

The situation is the same in various polling units in Enugu North/Udenu federal constituency where Labour Party candidate, Dennis Agbo is contesting against Chief Simon Atigwe of the Peoples Democratic Party.

At 2:00pm, elections were yet to commence as voters insisted on seeing the result sheets before the commencement of election.

Reacting to the impasse, the Senator representing Enugu East Senatorial district, Senator Kelvin Chukwu and the member representing Enugu North/South Federal Constituency, Chimaobi Atu accused INEC of plotting to rig the election.

The lawmakers also accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of colluding with the INEC to write results of the by-election in favour of the PDP.

Senator Chukwu said: “I was reliably informed that this election has been highly compromised. When I got to this place, I met with the EO and told him to do the simplest thing by showing all the candidates the original result sheets which he had not produced.

“That is what is causing the tension. I am worried because since the INEC is yet to show the result sheets, the election may not hold. I haven spoken to the Assistant Commissioner of Police. I have spoken to an army officer in charge.

“I have told them what is required. I told the INEC man to show the people the result sheet, very simple. demand is that the original result sheet be shown to them. If that is not done, there will be no election.”

On his part, Chief Chimaobi Atu said that his constituents were frustrated but were ready to defend the electoral process, adding that INEC should do the right by displaying the result sheets.

“There is no result sheet here. The result sheet should be shown to them before anything. And INEC is not doing what they should do. The call I got is that the result has already been written.

“So the people are demanding that the result should be shown to them so that there will be a free and fair election. That is what the masses are standing for, he said.

However, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the by-election, Chief Sam Ngene, accused members of the Labour Party, including National Assembly members, Kelvin Chukwu and Chimaobi Atu of disrupting the electoral process.

“The election was going well until Senator Chukwu and his thugs came here to disrupt it. Yesterday night, all the agents were shown the result sheets, but this morning, these people came here and started demanding for the result sheets.

“They should allow INEC to set up their boots before demanding for result sheets. How can you be demanding for result sheets when they are yet to set up.

“They are jumping the gun. I am also calling on the security agencies to do the needful by moving Senator Chukwu out of this place. He is not supposed to be here,” he said.

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