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Royal Rumble As Abia Politicians, Election Observers Clash in Lagos

Royal Rumble As Abia Politicians, Election Observers Clash in Lagos

Some politicians believed to be supporters of the Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party and members of the civil society groups/2015 election observers clashed in Lagos on Friday following claim and counter-claim that the April 11 governorship poll in the state was fraudulent.

The observers, who had called a press conference to relate their observation at the election, were answering a question which bordered on why they kept on mentioning that the ruling party and some Independent National Electoral Commission workers were involved in truncating the electoral process, when the PDP supporters, whose tension had visibly risen, stood up and shouted the observers down.

The situation nearly turned to free for all but for journalists who prevailed on both parties to embrace peace.

The PDP supporters, among who were a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ananaba; a lawyer, Mr. Ugwuzor Adindu; and a man who gave his name as Chemezie Nwankwo, accused the observers of acting a script prepared by the All Progressive Grand Alliance governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Alex Otti.

According to them, the observers – Mr. Leonard Onyemesiri of the Justice Development Peace and Commission; Mr. Nelson Nwafor, Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development; Mr. Innocent Nwokocha, Society for Economic Rights and Social Justice; Mr. Cassiuss Ukwugbe, Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation; and Mr. David Anyaele, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities – were biased in their assessment of the governorship election.

“The observers are feeding the people with lies,” Ananaba said.

Adindu specifically told the observers that they were wrong to have claimed that the returning officer was forced to reverse the cancellation of some election results by the ruling party chieftains.

“There is no provision of the law or the constitution that empowers the returning officer to cancel election result at the point of collation,” he said.

But an APGA supporter and senator-elect, Chief Ahamdi Nweke, countered the PDP sympathisers. He accused them of frustrating efforts to conduct credible election in Abia State.

Meanwhile, the leader of the election observers group, Anyaele, had described the April 11 governorship poll in the state as a “sorry state of affairs that must not be allowed to triumph.”

He said the poll was characterised by ballot box snatching, violence and using of fake uniform men, among other electoral frauds.

Anyaele, however, called for total cancellation of the election results in Ugwunagbo, Osiosioma, Obinwga and Isiala Ngwa local government areas, not in some polling units or wards.

He also urged the electoral body to redeploy all its workers alleged to have connived with politicians to compromise the election process before the April 25 rerun election in the state.

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