I vehemently rejects Abia North senatorial poll result – Ohuabunwa
* Says BVAS digitalising rigging
By Steve Oko
Senator Mao Ohuabunwa has totally regretted the result of last Saturday’s senatorial election in Abia North, saying it has been highly compromised in favour of the All Progressive Congress, APC, candidate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
Ohuabunwa who stated this Tuesday at a press conference in Umuahia expressed utter disappointment over the use of Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machine which he said many Nigerians believed would curb manipulation of election results but regretted that it had rather made rigging worse.
He called for a cancellation of the charade and a conduct of fresh poll in the zone.
The former Leader, ECOWAS Parliament lamented that contrary to earlier promises by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, election results were not uploaded through the BVAS to INEC server.
The deliberate delay and failure to do this, according to him, gave room for the manipulation of poll results at the various collation centres.
Ohuabunwa who addressed a press conference in Umuahia accused INEC of using BVAS to deceive innocent contestants who believed the innovation would actually help checkmate rigging not knowing it had made things worse.
” I thought BVAS would help stop rigging but now rigging is worse than ever. We trusted BVAS not knowing there was no BVAS”, Ohuabunwa lamented.
He said that voting materials did not get to Arochukwu and Ohafia federal constituency which is his stronghold until around 4:00 pm on Saturday, thus leading to the late commencement of polls.
” I totally reject the result of Abia North senatorial election and I call for a fresh exercise”.
Ohuabunwa alleged non use of BVAS in collation of election results; deliberate disenfranchisement of his supporters, and resort to manual collation as reasons for rejecting the result.
He said there was no election in over 100 polling units in his stronghold, alleging it was orchestrated to disenfranchise his supporters and ultimately suppress his votes.
He further lamented that even while voters in the affected areas re-assembled on Monday, February 27 for a re-run poll as directed by INEC, the Returning Officer contrary to Electoral Act rushed to announce the results.
Ohuabunwa who said the number of voters in the disenfranchised units was over 60,000, which was far more than margin of win, called for the cancellation of the entire exercise and investigation of the Returning Officer who he accused of compromise.
Senator Ohuabunwa who said he had already lodged his complaint with INEC, said he would explore other legal options to seek redress.
The immediate-past Secretary to Abia State Government, Dr Eme Okoro, who was at the briefing expressed total disappointment over the action of the Returning Officer for Abia North senatorial election.
He cautioned INEC against colluding with any dark force to subvert the will of the people.
Okoro said INEC deceived the people with BVAS, accusing the electoral umpire of betraying the confidence reposed in him.
Similarly, former Commissioner for Small and Medium Enterprises, Gab Igboko, said the results obtained from polling units were different from the ones manually collated by INEC, alleging wide scale manipulation.