It is public knowledge that the February 23, 2019 general elections for Idemili North and South Federal Constituency seat was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) because of irregularities in 26 Polling Units in Obosi and five Polling Units in Abatete. This decision by INEC was informed by the provisions of Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Sections 39(b) of 2019 Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections. In compliance with these provisions, INEC has ordered a re-run in the affected 31 Polling Units in Obosi and Abatete on Saturday, March 09, 2019.
Following numerous enquiries from the public, it has become necessary for Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ibezi Campaign Organization (HIICO) to clearly narrate the unsavoury events that led to the re-run as follows:
- At the conclusion of the February 23, 2019 election, Ibezi who contested under the platform of All Progressive’s Grand Alliance (APGA) was clearly leading in 22 out of the 24 wards. He scored 21,026 votes while his closest rival, Hon. Obinna Chidoka of PDP scored 18,984 votes. Other notable scores are SDP (7866 votes) and APC (3183 votes).
- There was a violent disruption of collation of result at the Obosi Collation Centre when it became apparent that APGA Candidate was coasting to victory. With the help of compromised security agencies at the Collation Centre, the PDP candidate brazenly caused the arrest of fifteen of APGA Polling Agents who were at the Collation Centre to submit the results from their respective Polling Units. In fact, the APGA collation agent was kidnapped for three days. The ensued confusion enabled PDP to further rig the result of Obosi Ward as much as it wanted.
- Following our outcry and in exercise of his powers in the management of the margin of lead principle as contained in Schedule 1 of the 2019 Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of Elections, the Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) ordered for a verification and regeneration of fresh results in Obosi Ward from Police and INEC duplicate copies.
- During the verification exercise on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at Ogidi, the PDP candidate insisted that the Abatete result which had earlier been collated and entered into forms EC 8C (II) must also be verified. In a rare demonstration of good faith, the APGA candidate submitted the Abatete result for verification. At the end, the results of 39 out of 65 Polling Units in Obosi were successfully verified with both Police and INEC duplicate copies. The results of the other 26 Polling Units could not be verified because of the obvious mutilations contained therein and lack of police and INEC duplicate copies to authenticate them. A total of 28 out of 33 Polling Units in Abatete were also successfully verified leaving a balance of five Polling Units.
- After the verification exercise, the results from the verified Polling Units in Obosi and Abatete were then added to the February 23, 2019 scores of the candidates. This brought the figures to APGA (25,866 votes), PDP (24,283 votes) APC (3,407 votes) and SDP (8,502 votes); meaning that Ibezi is leading with a margin of 1,583 votes.
- Because Ibezi’s margin of lead is NOT in excess of the total number of registered voters in the 31 Polling Units in Abatete and Obosi where the results could not be verified, the Returning Officer in line with Section 39(b) of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections declined to declare a winner. Subsequently, INEC has ordered for a re-run in 26 Polling Units in Obosi and five in Abatete on Saturday, March 09, 2019. The results of the scheduled re-run shall be incorporated into a new form EC 8D(1) and subsequently recorded into form EC 8E(1) for Declaration and Return.
- That we were able to checkmate the consistent rigging and impunity by PDP in Obosi during each election cycle since 1999, was a proof of our resolve to have the votes of Umu Idemili count this time.
- As we look forward to the March 09 re-run with confidence, we urge Umu Idemili and supporters of Ibezi to remain steadfast and focused, as we are resolved more than ever before to redeem Idemili from the shackles of poor representation.
- We wish to appreciate Umu Idemili for giving us the lead we currently enjoy and urge our supporters in the affected 31 polling units where a re-run will hold on March 09 to keep faith with the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ibezi. A vote cast for him is a vote for progress and development of Idemili North and South. Idemili deserves better than the present lacklustre and poor representation.
Long Live Idemili!
Chief Tony Onyima (Ife Idemili)
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