By Steve Oko
Deputy Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu has faulted claims by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Ohafia and other places where the national assembly elections did not hold, were enclaves of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
INEC had in its reply to the petition by Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, against the declaration of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu of the All Progressive Congress, APC, as the winner of the Abia North senatorial contest, claimed that voters willfully stayed away from the polls where election did not hold because they were sympathetic to IPOB.
But the Deputy Speaker who sharply disagreed with INEC over the claims said the electoral umpire “lied”.
He claimed that INEC deliberately failed to conduct an election in many polling units in Ohafia during the national assembly poll.
The lawmaker who spoke exclusively with Vanguard expressed shock that INEC after admitting its failure to bring voting materials to the affected polling units, turned around to justify its crime against the people.
Hon. Uchendu who was the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP House of Representatives candidate for the Arochukwu-Ohafia federal constituency, said it was ridiculous for INEC to tag the people as IPOB sympathizers just to justify the open robbery of their mandate.
He explained that ironically, elections still held peacefully during the governorship and state house of assembly polls in the affected areas.
” INEC is lying. It’s only fabricating excuses to justify the broad-day robbery of the mandate of the people that it supervised.
” During the governorship poll, an election was held peacefully in the same polling units where INEC failed to organize an election during the national assembly polls.
” During the February 25 polls, the Electoral Officer in charge of Ohafia Local Government was pleading with the people because voting materials did not arrive on time.
“Materials did not arrive until 5 pm and the EO came and appealed to the people, assuring them that the election will hold the next day. On the next day, people trooped out again but the election did not hold. INEC told the people to come out again the next day.
” But before the next day, the same INEC started announcing results when the election did not hold in over 87 polling units with over 50,000 registered voters”.
The Deputy Speaker who accused INEC of disenfranchising his constituents insisted that the national assembly election in the constituency was inconclusive.
Some of the wards where the election did not hold in Abia North during the national assembly elections include Isiama Ohafia with 47 polling units; Okamu Ohafia with 27 polling units; and Amaeke Abiriba with 14 polling units.
Others were Aborji Abiriba with 10 wards; Ndielu Nkporo three units; Ohaeke Ward 2 Arochukwu with three wards; Eleoha Ihechiowa Ward 08; Aro Ward 3 with 11 polling units, among others.
Meanwhile, the margin of lead between the declared winner of the Abia North senatorial poll, and the first runner-up was 3000 votes.