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Sunday, June 23, 2024

LP candidate wants new INEC team to run elections

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Bright Ngene of the Labor Party (LP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to send a new team to conduct the June 8 re-election for the Enugu South Urban Constituency.

Ngene, who was the LP candidate in the 2023 general elections, said he had lost confidence in the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Enugu State, Chukwuemeka Chukwu and the Enugu South Electoral Officer, Francis Chigbu, to carry out the repetition.

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The LP candidate made the call at a press conference held in Enugu on Sunday.

‘Proof’

Narrating his ordeal, Ngene said INEC declared him winner of the March 28, 2023 House of Assembly elections for Enugu South Urban District after securing 5,862 votes, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP ) obtained 2,098 votes.

“Accordingly, I was inducted into the 8th Enugu State Assembly with a certificate of return issued by INEC.

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“That is why I consider this press conference as an opportunity to inform the good people of Enugu State and Enugu South Urban District in particular about what is happening around me and the mandate they overwhelmingly gave me.

“PDP candidate Sam Ngene went to court challenging the victory and pleaded with the court to declare the election inconclusive and order a rerun.

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“Their argument was based on the fact that there was violence in the eight polling units located in Ward 5, Uwani Primary School and Robinson, which had 4,257 registered votes,” he said.

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Ngene said the court ruled in favor of the PDP candidate’s argument that it was necessary to conduct a re-run of the elections in the said eight polling stations where INEC scheduled the first re-run of the elections on February 3, 2024.

“On the said date, the elections could not be held because the original result sheet mysteriously and suddenly disappeared under the surveillance of Enugu REC and the electoral officer, who could not account for what happened to the original result sheets.

“Consequently, INEC rescheduled the second rerun of the elections on February 14, 2024, but the elections could not be held because the PDP disrupted them, claiming that the original results sheet provided by INEC was false.

“In addition, the thugs began destroying INEC cubicles and other sensitive materials,” he said.

The LP candidate accused INEC of refusing to investigate who disrupted the elections.

He expressed disappointment that those responsible for disrupting the elections were not arrested or prosecuted.

“My biggest concern about this proposal to repeat the elections for the third time is that INEC intends to allow or use the same Chukwu and Chigbu to conduct the elections.

“Until today, neither the duo nor INEC have accounted for what happened to the said original results sheet,” Mr Ngene lamented.

He said he has lost confidence in the integrity of the REC to conduct a credible, free and fair election.

“I also wish to let the world know that for over nine months now the Enugu South Urban Constituency seat remains vacant and unrepresented in the Enugu State House of Assembly.

“Therefore, I passionately and humbly request the media, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, election observers, the European Union and other international organizations to be on the ground to supervise and monitor the elections ”.

The PPD candidate reacts

Reacting, PDP candidate Sam Ngene denied the allegation that top thugs disrupted the second rerun. He challenged the LP candidate to show the world the evidence in images and videos.

He said: “I am working hard to prepare for my election on Saturday and what he is doing is shifting blame and trying to get ahead of the election, something he needed to prove.

“INEC held the election the first time it favored him and he spent six months in the House of Assembly. He should not come out now to condemn the referee who made him win the first elections.

“The said area for repetition is my ward and stronghold where I was a councilor and also made me run for my first term in the Seventh State Assembly.

“I have enough influence (in the area) because of the things I put on the ground,” he said.

NAN could not get Enugu REC to comment on the allegations because it did not respond to our reporter’s calls and text messages.

(YAYA)

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