21st November, 2013
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has formally petitioned INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega seeking the cancellation of the Nov. 16th Governorship Election in Anambra State and the organization of a fresh election, instead of the Supplementary Election being planned by the electoral body.
APC is also demanding that the Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof, Chukwuemeka Onukogu, be transferred out of Anambra State and a new REC be appointed to supervise the fresh elections, while Prof. Onukogu ”and members of his syndicate” who ruined the Nov. 16th poll should immediately be arrested and prosecuted.
”These are the ways to rebuild public confidence in your Commission and restore the integrity of the electoral process,” the party wrote in the petition, dated Nov. 18th and jointly signed by its Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and Interim National Secretary, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsah.
It urged INEC to discontinue all arrangements for the conduct of the Supplementary Election, and demanded that no candidate in the Nov. 16th poll should be returned as the winner pending the conduct of fresh election.
”Our demand is predicated on the serious irregularities and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended which characterized the conduct of the said election. To proceed with the election as proposed by your Commission will amount to a gruesome assault on the right of the people of Anambra State to elect a Governor of their choice and a legitimizing of a grave travesty of the electoral process as witnessed during the November 16, 2013 Governorship Election,” APC said.
Expatiating on the reasons for its call for cancellation, the party said the Voters’ Register used for the election was tainted with vice, to such an extent that many voters, especially in Senator Ngige’s stronghold, were disenfranchised, while the register was padded with minors and multiple registrants in the LGAs controlled by APGA; And that APC field agents had catalogued about 1,380 polling units of about 600, 000 voters with one form of irregularity or the other.
It also noted that the monitors/observers accredited by INEC have roundly criticized the election as ”gravely flawed” and “leaves a lot to be desired and reflected the lack of competence on the part of INEC in the conduct of elections”; That results were brought in without being publicly announced by the LGA Collation Officers; That election materials were not distributed in a timely manner in many polling units, thus affecting the timely commencement of accreditation and voting; That the Commission failed to deploy election officials in sufficient numbers to several polling units; And that election officials were recruited at the election venue and deployed without any form of training.
Other reasons cited by the APC for demanding the cancellation of the poll are that students were recruited as Presiding Officers and Polling Assistants, further compromising the electoral process; That aside from students, the staff of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka were recruited as Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) by Prof. Onukaogu, contrary to INEC’s directive that staff of UNIZIK would not be used in the election since the APGA Deputy Governorship Candidate, Dr. Nkem Okeke, was a Senior Lecturer with the university prior to his candidacy.
APC also used the petition to debunk claims by INEC that only the courts have the power to cancel the election, saying ”A correct reading of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended is to the effect that your Commission cannot reverse itself where a candidate in the election has been returned as a winner. This has not been done. Indeed, your Commission had on Monday, 18th November, 2013 declared the election as ‘inconclusive’.”
The party explained that in an electoral process, a Ward or Local Government Collation Officer who stands in the same position as State Collation/Returning Officer can cancel or reject results submitted to him at ward or local government level where the result is tainted with vice or irregularities.
”The Commission is therefore duly empowered to reject the purported results as announced. It is instructive that it is the prior cancellations of results by the Commission that has led to the affected areas being included in the areas for which the ‘Supplementary Election’ is to be held,” it said.