The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected results of Saturday’s re-run election in Essien Udim local government area of Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, where its officials were abducted and forced to compromise the processes.
The commission stated this in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal Constituency and Essien Udim State Constituency were won by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the re-run election after candidates of All Progressives Congress, APC had withdrawn from the race.
“However, consistent with the Commission’s resolve to sanction electoral bad behaviour, INEC took the following steps to protect the process: “In Akwa Ibom State, where the officials of INEC were abducted and diverted to an undesignated location and forced to compromise the elections in Essien Udim LGA, all the polling units involved were identified and their results discountenanced,” Okoye said.
Vanguard in its report quoted Okoye saying that the commission had deployed a high-powered team to the state to coordinate the regeneration of results and conclusion of collation, declaration and announcement of final results of the rerun election in Oru East/Orsu/Orlu Federal Constituency.
He said INEC took the decision on Tuesday after reviewing Saturday’s re-run election in 28 court-ordered constituencies in 11 states.
Okoye said that INEC noted a marked improvement in compliance with its processes and procedures during the election, and commended voters, security agents, the media and election staff for their praiseworthy conduct.
He, however, said that regrettably, deviant behaviour by a few persons determined to subvert the people’s will was noticed in a few areas in the course of the election. “These isolated incidents minimally affected the peaceful and orderly exercise in only four of the 28 constituencies where elections were conducted.
Okoye stated that in Isa LGA of Sokoto State, the activities of bandits prevented INEC from operation in a few polling units, but the Commission successfully conducted election and declared results “In Abi State Constituency of Cross River State, officials of INEC were abducted and thus prevented from deploying in eight polling units.
“All officials of the commission that were abducted have been rescued and accounted for. “In furtherance of its resolve not to accept results from areas where the processes were disrupted and its officials attacked, the commission took a firm action by not accepting results from such areas as it could not vouch for their integrity.
“But the commission notes that in most cases, these incidents were not widespread and did not significantly affect the overall results. As such, declarations and returns were made,” he said. Okoye said that in the case of Oru East/Orsu/Orlu Federal Constituency of Imo, the election was conducted peacefully in the 18 polling units as ordered by the Appeal Court.
“However, thugs disrupted the collation of results at the designated centre in Orlu. “They injured our staff and other persons at the centre, destroyed result sheets and damaged the commission’s local government building being used for the collation. Consequently, the commission suspended the process.
“Arising from the suspension of collation, the commission has decided to apply the provisions of Paragraph 47(f) of its Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of the elections.
“This provides that in the event of such a disruption, saved original and duplicate result sheets be used to complete the collation of results.
Okoye said that accordingly, the Commission had deployed a high-powered team consisting of National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners and Senior Staff of the Commission to Imo.
“The team is to coordinate the regeneration of results and conclusion of collation, as well as declaration and announcement of the final outcome of the rerun election in Oru East/Orsu/Orlu Federal Constituency,” he said.