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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

How Thugs, INEC Disenfranchised Over 10, 000 Enugu Voters During Guber Elections

Ben Aroh investigates how electoral violence and the subsequent refusal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a runoff election under the Elections Act 2022 deprived more than 10,000 Voters’ right to vote.

Affected LGA

In Udenu LGA, the number of registered voters holding Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in some of the affected areas are: Umugwu Village Square, Orba Ward I (001), 1, 152; Amaukwu 1 polling station, Orba Ward 1 (007) , 1, 069; Okpu Village Square, Orba Ward 2 (001), 1, 676; Nshama Village Hall, Obollo-Etiti Ward (007), 294; Uzoagu Village Hall (011), Obollo-Etiti District, 288, and Obollo – Agudele Village Hall (020), 385, Etiti District.

The same experience was also recorded in Nkanu West LGA, Primary School Ogbeke, Agbani Ward (003), with 492 voters holding PVCs; and Amakpu Village Hall, Agbani Ward (007), with 903 registered voters and their PVCs.

In Nsukka LGA, the same disenfranchisement took place at Amadim Village Square polling station, Ogbozalla/Idi Ward (017) with 522 registered voters holding PVCs; Idi polling station at Obuiyi 2 Ogbozalla Ward (021) with 377 PVCs There were 245 registered voters with PVC at Itako Idi polling station in Ogbozalla/Idi Ward (020).

In Igboeze South LGA, CPS Iheaka 1 (003) reported similar incidents with 1,491 registered voters holding PVC; CPS Ovoko (Ajuona Ward 001) with 2,378 PVC registered 004) with 1,457 PVC registered voters.

INEC Official Notice

Some election officials at the affected polling stations claimed that they had reported the incidents to the relevant authorities accordingly.

Wilfred Abigail Ifeyinwa is Assistant Presiding Officer attached to Obollo-Etiti 05, pu-004.

She wrote a report, “Report on the Attack and Hijacking of Our Materials During the Governor’s and House Elections,” addressed to election officials at the INEC Office of the Udenu LGA.

She wrote, “I, Wilfred Abigail Ifeyinwa, Assistant Presiding Officer attached to Obollo-Eke 05, pu-004 and my PO, at approximately 2:45pm on March 18, 2023, while sorting ballots and After the inventory, unknown gunmen attacked us and took our election materials, and housed us in an unknown location until about 1:34 am today, before we were released and started returning.”

A similar report was submitted by Daniel Onyebuchi of Ugwu, head of Obollo-Etiti Ward 05, pu-020.

He wrote, “I, Ugwu, Daniel Onyebuchi, Presiding Officer attached to Obollo-Etiti Ward 05, pu-020, and Ogbu, Patience Chinyere as my APO I, at approximately 02:45 PM on 18-03-2023, After sorting and counting, unidentified gunmen attacked us, took our election materials, and housed us in an unidentified location until we were released around 1:34 a.m.

lament for voters

whistling Interacted with some voters during voting. Uchechukwu Eze said he was registered with CPS Ovoko (Ajuona Ward 004).

According to him, “The vote was conducted peacefully. We were all satisfied because for the first time in our history, our votes would be counted. What a pity! When the counting started, LP had the advantage. Suddenly, some The thugs came and carried the ballot box after scaring us with gunshots. I don’t want to mention names but I heard it was planned by a senior public official in this community just to give his ward to his party. Makes me angry Unfortunately, the police were alerted in time, but they refused to take the initiative. So, I am not happy that this happened. After I worked hard to get my permanent voter card, I ended up not voting.”

In Lejja, Nsukka LGA, the same thing allegedly happened. Osita Odo said, “Where I was voting was polling unit 001. We had finished voting and were sorting when a thug we all knew came down with his hands.” We had about 600 people voting. That’s it. The mob burned all the materials and left. So far, the culprit is moving freely. I doubt if I will ever vote again in this country given how much INEC has lied to us about transparency.

“My take is that the attackers already knew which side our unit was winning. Since their party lost, the best they could do was truncate the entire exercise. We are in danger. Only the military saved the election that day. But because they were few in number, they would bring the crisis area back to normal and ask the police to keep the peace. Once they leave, the police will further assist the rigging.”

How INEC breached its own rules

Our facts show that INEC officials canceled elections at affected polling stations, but never fulfilled their runoff obligations.

Some of the canceled units seen by reporters included Obollo-Etiti pu 011, which read “Cancelled, Violent”.

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