Abia State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said yesterday that statement by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that its office in Obingwa Local Government Area was attacked was not true.
Barrister Charles Eseonu, PDP agent-in-Chief, 2023 Governorship Election in a statement, said the INEC statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information And Voter Education Committee of INEC Barrister Festus Okoye, said such did not happen.
The statement from INEC read: “As Nigerians are aware, the 2023 General Election is approaching its concluding stages. Arising from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25th February 2023, the Commission promised Nigerians that there will be improved processes during the Governorship and State Assembly elections held yesterday, Saturday 18th March 2023.
“Earlier today (yesterday), the commission alerted the nation to the invasion of our Obingwa Local Government Area office in Abia State by thugs during the collation of results for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
“In contention was the collated result from the Registration Areas for the Governorship election in that Local Government Area. The intention was to force the collation of these contentious results. The behaviour of these thugs is unacceptable and there will be a thorough review of the results.
“The commission does not take the patience of citizens for granted and will continue to take steps to protect the integrity of the vote and consolidate the progress so far in the electoral process.”
Reacting, the PDP said: “The attention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State has been drawn to a press statement released by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information And Voter Education Committee of Independent National Electoral Commission ((INEC) Barrister Festus Okoye, in Abuja yesterday, which stated that the Obingwa Local Government Area office of the Commission in Abia State was attacked by thugs during the collation of results for the Governorship and State Assembly elections of March 18, 2023.
“While we find such claims strange, we wish to set the records straight and state as follows: that there was no recorded act of violence in Obingwa LGA of Abia State before, during and after the election of March 18, 2023.
“That Party agents at Obingwa collation centre only ensured that INEC’s directive that results must be announced at units, collated at ward then local government levels and result sheets issued to agents be complied with.
“We were shocked that INEC is attempting to bypass her own recommended process and even falsely released a statement to members of the public to achieve that.
“Youths of Obingwa should rather be commended for insisting that INEC followed her own guideline as previously stated by Barr Festus Okoye and other national officials.
“It is important to note that the results of the same election from Umuahia South LGA, which were taken to INEC headquarters for collation changed dramatically along the way in favour of one of the parties involved in the election.
“We, therefore, implore INEC to do the right thing by not raising false alarms but to announce the results as collated in Obingwa.”