Labour Party Coalition for True Democracy on Sunday called for a review of the Enugu Governorship election result due to what it called “some irregularities”.
The call was made by the coalition’s president, Ken Asogwa, and the General Secretary, Emeka Nnaji, at a news conference in Abuja.
Mr Asogwa recalled that the gubernatorial and state assembly elections took place in Enugu State and in 27 other states across Nigeria on 18th March, 2023, saying that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was declared winner of the election amidst controversies.
“As you may know, collation was suspended midway into the declaration of a winner of the gubernatorial election due to the malpractice that took place in Nkanu East Local Government Area (LGA) of the State.
“According to the figures gleaned from the INEC IREV, Nkanu East LGA recorded a total number of 7,190 accredited voters on election day.
“However, when votes were declared, the PDP was allocated a total number of 30,350 votes while a total number of 1,855 was allocated to the Labour Party.”
Mr Asogwa said in Udenu LGA, the result of the state constituency election was not declared because there was violence in 13 polling units with a cumulative number of 7,709 potential voters with PVCs collected.
He said that in this case, INEC was right in declaring that elections in those polling units would have to be conducted before a return could be made, ostensibly because the number of voters in those polling units will affect the final outcome of the result if the voters are allowed to vote.
Mr Asogwa said similarly, in Igbo-Eze South LGA, a similar situation played out where the state constituency election result was yet to be declared because of an outbreak of violence in about three polling units with a total number of 3,326 persons with PVCs collected.
“Similar situation is rife in Nkanu West LGA, Nsukka LGA, Uzo-Uwani LGA, Igboeze North LGA, Igbo-Etiti LGA and a host of other LGAs where elections did not hold in several polling units.
“On the whole, there are a total of 21,156 persons with PVCs yet to cast their votes across the State.
“This number is far huge enough to affect the final outcome of the result as declared. Section 51 (2), (3) and (4) of the Electoral Act envisages that a rerun be conducted in such circumstances.”
Mr Asogwa said that in the final result as declared by INEC, the candidate of the PDP purportedly polled a total number of 160,895 votes while the candidate of the Labour Party polled a total of 157,552 votes.
He said that in other words, the candidate of the PDP purportedly won by 3,343 votes.
According to him, it was therefore curious how a return was hurriedly made on the gubernatorial election when the total number of polling units where elections were yet to hold far outnumbered the margin with which the candidate of the PDP was returned.
He recalled that in Kebbi and Adamawa states where a similar scenario happened, INEC did the right thing by declaring the election inconclusive.
“Why then is the case of Enugu different? Is it a case of two sets of laws for one kind of situation?” he asked.
He said what took place in Nkanu East LGA, according to the Electoral Act in S. 51 (2) which provides that where there is a proven case of over-voting in any polling unit, the verdict by the returning officer should be an outright cancellation while a fresh election is ordered.
He, therefore, wondered why INEC drew the power that enabled it to reduce some votes in the over-voting situation as witnessed in Nkanu East LGA.
“Our Party, the Labour Party, has written to INEC to review the Enugu situation in line with the Electoral Act which allows a seven-day window for application to the INEC for a review of situations of this nature.
“It is our hope that Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, would withhold the certificate of return for Enugu governorship election and order a runoff and a rerun as the case may be, in the affected polling units and LGAs.
“While hoping that INEC does the right thing by restoring the mandate of the Enugu people freely given to the Labour Party, and by extension, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, on 18th March, 2023, we continue to urge our teeming supporters to continue to toe the path of peace while the institutions are being engaged.”