A coalition of civil society organisations, certified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to observe the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, has urged INEC to investigate the activities of Georgina Ugwuanyi, a professor and returning officer for Abia South Senatorial zone and Oko Nkem, electoral officer (EO) for Abia South Senatorial zone in the just concluded Presidential/National Assembly elections.
They stated that the duo announced the result of the Senatorial election three days after declaring same election inconclusive and called for a rerun in 108 polling units.
It should be recalled that the Returning Officer of INEC for Abia South Senatorial Zone, Prof. Ugwuanyi had on Tuesday afternoon declared Enyinnaya Abaribe, of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), winner of Saturday, February 25, 2023 Senatorial election in Abia South.
Ugwuanyi said that she had to return to declare results for the election, because she was asked by INEC office in Abuja to announce winners in the election.
Earlier, Ugwuanyi had told party agents that a substantial number of polling units totalling about 108 had irregularities requiring a reschedule of the Abia South election.
She said that Abaribe, who is the APGA candidate, got the highest number of votes in the election having scored 49, 903.
She further announced that LP’s Chinedu Onyeizu scored 43,903, while Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State Governor, scored 28,422 votes and declared Abaribe winner of the senatorial election for Abia South.
The group urged INEC to organise supplementary election in the identified polling units in Abia South Senatorial zone to determine the real winner of the Senatorial election.
This is as they also urged INEC to suspend Georgina Ugwuanyi and Nkem Oko, from the supplementary and March 11, 2023 elections.
They demanded that the Commission corrects its mistakes, and comply with the Electoral Act in further elections, and also fix a convenient date for the supplementary election in Abia South Senatorial zone.
The group in a press conference held at the Secretariat of the Aba Federated Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) insisted that the date be set on an acceptable day, not when it will be inconvenient for the people, and that adequate publicity be made to this effect.
They observed that the just conducted National Assembly and Presidential elections and the performance of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abia State, totally contradicted democratic tenets.
According to them, INEC promised to deliver credible polls to Nigerians, as captured both in the Electoral Act of 2022 and the Commission’s election guidelines, thereby making the huge borrowed resources, cost of which was covered by the 2023 budget, for the conduct of the election a waste.
They stated that INEC voting materials were dispatched late to all polling centers and units, which grossly violated the INEC timeframe for the arrival of personnel and materials, according to the Commission’s guidelines.
2023 Abia State Civil Society Election Observers, is an umbrella body of organised civil society organisations accredited by INEC to work as domestic observers for the 2023 general elections.
They are led by Nelson Nnanna Nwafor (Convener) Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), Okoye, Chuka Peter (Co-convener) Centre for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society (CEHRAWS) and Nnamdi Elekwachi (Secretary) Society for Economic Rights and Social Justice (SERSJ).