Why we will declare winner in Imo rerun ― INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday gave an indication that it would declare a winner in the disrupted federal constituency election held in Oru East/Orsu/Orlu Federal Constituency of Imo State.
It took the position while appraising the conduct of weekend Court Ordered Re-run elections in 28 Constituencies in 11 States of the Federation.
National chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu ahead of preparation for the rerun elections had dropped the hint that it would discountenance announcement of elections results in areas where the election process was disrupted by violence instigated by party thugs.
Barrister Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of the Commission in a statement disclosed that the results of the rerun elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state were rejected in fidelity to its vow not to honour results in areas where the process was marred by violence.
”In Akwa-Ibom State, where the officials of the Commission were abducted and diverted to an undesignated location and forced to compromise the elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area, all the polling units involved were identified and their results discountenanced.”
The same firm action was however adopted although with half measure in the Abi State Constituency of Cross River State, where ”officials of the Commission were abducted and thus prevented from deploying in eight (8) polling units.
”In Abi State Constituency of Cross River State, officials of the Commission were abducted and thus prevented from deploying in eight (8) 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.”
Okoye however disclosed in his statement that despite the disruption of collation of results at designated centres in Orlu, where results sheets were destroyed and its staff injured, which led to the suspension of the process, it would go ahead and announce the results.
The Commission argued that despite the disruption, the original and duplicate results sheets were intact and would be used to complete the collation of results and declaration of the winner of the rerun election in the Oru East/Orsu/Orlu Federal Constituency.
Okoye further revealed that INEC has since sent a high powered team from Abuja to Owerri to coordinate the regeneration of results and conclusion of collation.
The statement read in part:”
In the case of Oru East/Orsu/Orlu Federal Constituency of Imo State, the election was conducted peacefully in the eighteen (18) polling units as ordered by the 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 provision of Paragraph 47(f) of its Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of the elections, which provides that in the event of such a disruption, saved original and duplicate result sheets be used to complete the collation of results. Accordingly, the Commission has deployed a high-powered team consisting of National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners and Senior Staff of the Commission to Imo State 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 the Oru East/Orsu/Orlu Federal Constituency.”