PDP Chieftain Arrested In Eket As SSS Seals Off Printing Press For Alleged Printing Of Ballot Papers

Sahara Reporters

In Akwa Ibom State, Governor Godswill Akpabio’s plans to pre-determine the gubernatorial and state assembly elections ran into troubled waters on Tuesday as a printer, Mr Emmanuel Edoho, the CEO of Leats Concept Ltd and a PDP stalwart, was arrested by state security operatives in Eket.

A team of security operatives from the Akwa Ibom Command of State Security Services sealed off the premises of a printing press where ballot papers of the State Assembly and Governorship elections were being printed.

The team, acting on a tip off, stormed the printing outfit, which is located at 48 Afaha Uqua Road in the town, and searched the place. It removed the printing plates and some of the printed ballot papers as well as others still under processing. The ballot papers are for the State Assembly and Governorship Elections scheduled for April 26.

Although the proprietor of the press is a PDP stalwart involved with the party’s electioneering campaigns and election duties, it could not be immediately ascertained who had placed printing order for the ballot papers with the printer.

SaharaReporters gathered that the armed SSS team which arrived in the premises in a Peugeot Multipurpose Vehicle and a Toyota Hilux with registration numbers AG 654 UYY and AP 586 UYY respectively, arrested one Etuk Akpan, who was identified as the manager of the printing outfit.

The SSS team also conducted searches on the residence of the proprietor of the printing firm in Eket and took away some exhibits.

A visit to the printing press on Tuesday showed that the press was in a lockdown mode while some members of staff who had taken to their heels when the security men invaded the place regrouped in the area to discuss the incident.

Our sources at the SSS state headquarters in Uyo confirmed receiving the report from the Eket Field Office but declined comments, saying they were yet to get a report from the team that undertook the operation.

“We got a report and dispatched a team to the field and we are yet to get a report and feedback from them and it will be premature to make any comments at this time when investigations are at the early stages,” an official said.

SaharaReporters had identified Akwa Ibom, Imo, Benue, Kwara and Delta States as trouble spots where election results underwent manipulation during last week’s parliamentary elections. Today INEC officials stated that some of the elections in those states remain inconclusive. They also named Imo, Bayelsa and Delta as states in which 117 ballot boxes were stolen during Saturday’s legislative elections.

INEC Claims Ownership Of Presidential Ballot Papers Found With Abuja Printers; Says They Were “Dummy” Ballots

By SaharaReporters, New York

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has claimed ownership of the ballot papers found with an Abuja printer yesterday by the police, as reported by SaharaReporters, but that they are only “dummy presidential ballot papers”.

The spokesperson to the INEC chairperson, Mr. Kayode Idowu, told SaharaReporters over the phone today that the ballot papers were designed by the commission in line with “Section 60” of the Electoral Law to “fool” troublemakers at polling booths if they show up to vote without legitimacy.

He said such person(s) would then be handed “dummy” ballot papers to vote and move on without disrupting the election.

Section 60 of the Electoral Law provides as follows:

60. -(1) If a person claiming to be entitled to vote applies for a ballot paper after some other person has voted in the name given by the claimant he shall, upon satisfactory answers given to any questions put to him by a poll clerk be
entitled to receive a ballot paper in the same manner as any other voter; but
the ballot paper (in this Act referred to as “the tendered ballot paper”) shall be
of a colour different from the ordinary ballot papers.

(2) The Presiding Officer shall require the voter to deliver the tendered ballot
paper to him instead of allowing it to be put in the ballot box, and the Presiding Officer shall endorse on it the name of the voter and his number in the register of voters.

(3) The ballot paper shall on delivery to the Presiding Officer and in the view of all present be set aside by the Presiding Officer in a packet intended for
tendered votes and the tendered ballot paper shall be counted by the Returning Officer.

(4) The Presiding Officer shall, when he tenders a ballot paper under this
section, enter the name of the voter and his number in the register of voters on the list to be called tendered vote list and the tendered

It is to be noted that the ballots provided for by the Electoral Law in this section are referred to as “tendered ballot papers” and are meant for the use of the Presiding Officer at the polls where someone else has already voted in the name of a claimant, not necessarily “troublemakers” needing to be “fooled” by INEC. They are of a different colour from the ordinary ballot papers.

The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) yesterday raised an alarm about the ballot papers, which were discovered by the police in Utako area of Abuja. It said two men, Akinlolu Akinto and Habila Stephen, were caught by the police with 100,000 ballot papers loaded into a van, leading to an investigation in which another one million ballots were discovered.

CPC officials said the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) had resisted initial attempts by higher up to release the contractors until the search of their printing press and subsequent discover of the 1 million presidential ballots. The DPO then handed over the suspects to the Federal Capital Territory command of the Police Force. Overnight, however, the men were released, as INEC claimed ownership of the ballot papers.

Opposition members said they raised alarm because the printing press belongs to the brother of the deputy chairman of the People’s Democratic Party and that they had engaged in bringing illegal ballot papers that were used in rigging elections in Kebbi State last Saturday.

Mr. Idowu denied any knowledge of the already thumb-printed papers reportedly found by the police. He stressed that INEC was “absolutely” prepared for Saturday’s pivotal presidential polls.

Benue State: ACN Documents Allegations Of Systematic Rigging Of Saturday’s National Assembly Election

By Prof Steve Torkuma Ugbah

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press: We are here to brief you on the irregularities that marred the National Assembly elections held across Nigeria with particular reference to Benue State on April 9, 2011.

Voter Apathy:

Our party has already called for the removal of Ayinlara as the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Benue based on this singular incidence and several acts of incompetence and bias exhibited by Alhaji Ayinlara.

Electoral Violence: On March 25, 2011, we political stake holders in Benue signed an accord on the Benue political crisis at the instance of the Director-General of State Security Services in Abuja. Whereas we have kept our part of the bargain by restraining our youth from embarking on violence even under provocation, the PDP has not.

Members of our party, the ACN were at the receiving end of acts of violence perpetrated by PDP thugs and in some instances, members of the security forces. This was most common in Katsina-Ala, Ukum, Logo, Obi, Utonkon, Ado and Guma. The violence experienced in these places was officially sponsored by the PDP-led, Benue State government under the leadership of Governor Gabriel Suswam. These can be attested to by the arrest of the ADC to the Benue State Governor, DSP Dickson Iorlu Pawa, Hon. Adzua Hindan; a Special Assistant to the Governor, State Youth Leader of the PDP, Mr. Moses Anaana with a cache of arms by the Army on patrol at the gate of Government Model College, Katsina-Ala on the day of the election. It is the responsibility of the media to demand an explanation on this issue from the relevant authorities.

Still in Katsina-Ala Local Government and at Utange ward, LG 011/BN, the militia started shooting in the air on the eve of the election to scare ACN supporters. This scared away our supporters. Those who dared to vote for our party like John Ikyor did at Donga PU code 014, were beaten to a state of comma.

In neighbouring Ukum Local Government, PDP thugs led by Terhemen Anza a notorious thug, popularly known as Basso snatched voting materials and took them to unknown destinations only to return them to collating centre with doctored results.

In the same local government, security agencies collaborated with PDP party stalwarts/thugs/agents to deprive our members their rights to vote. The security agents failed to go to various polling units in the hinterland but restricted their presence in the urban areas leaving our members at the mercy of PDP thugs. At NKST Igyemwase polling unit, one Hon. Terungwa Likita and Terngu Alade all PDP members called in the army who came and cordoned off ACN members and then proceeded to thumb print massively for the PDP.

In Mbavaa Council ward of Konshisha Local Government, Chief Atumba Shima hijacked and ran away with ballot papers and boxes. In the four council wards of Iwarev District, Aseer Soso, Terlumun Ashe were abducted and later discovered to have been detained at Late Prof Hembe, Iorwase Hembe’s fathers’ grave house until the elections were over.

In Iwuanyam council ward, Mathias Byuan, Governor Gabriel Suswam’s business associate, hijacked ballot papers and thumb printed and stuffed ballot boxes.

In Ikurav section of Ikurav/Mbatwev council ward, Hon. Sorkwagh Bebe; former PDP Commissioner, Abraham Nyikwagh; PDP Auditor and Moses Korayem thumb printed ballot papers.

Rigging

Similarly in Apa local government, Edikwu ward, the INEC returned 8,000 votes while registered voters are less than 5,000.

In Katsina-Ala local government, the voting materials including ballot boxes meant for Michihe ward LG/009/BN were intercepted by Barrister Chive Kaave, Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Benue State and the Chairman of Katsina-Ala Local Government, Hon. Augustine Avaan, who took them to the house of Mr. Agbidye Igyongo; the government house Accountant where they stuffed them with ballot papers in favour of PDP. In Tiir ward of Kastina-Ala West, Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Solomon Wombo spearheaded the snatching of ballot boxes, stuffing them with PDP papers and moving them to an illegal collation centre at Wombo – his house whereas the official collation centre is at Gbor. His brother, Msugh Wombo against whom we had lodged a report was caught with fake result sheets.

In Guma local government, the stuffing of ballot boxes was organized and supervised by David Tsevende; the Permanent Member of SUBEB, Mr. Tivlumun Nyitse; Permanent Secretary, Government House Administration and Hon. John Tondo; the Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Benue State who also organized thugs for them.

Another tactic of disenfranchising our supporters was the refusal of the Electoral officials to produce complete register of voters in constituencies where they knew ACN had many supporters. For instance, at Tse-Kyuur polling centre in Mbatian ward of Ukum local government, over 800 people had registered as voters. On the day of the election however, only about 200 names were on the voters’ list. Even then, the officers came a few minutes to 12 midday and they had barely accredited 20 people when they declared that the time for accreditation was up. They thus succeeded in denying the voters at this centre their right to vote because it was stationed in the village of our candidate for the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr. Jacob Chiangi Uja.

In Konshisha local government, no elections took place in the four council wards of Mbaka, Mbawar, Mbanor and Mbayegh/Mbakyer. The electoral materials were hijacked and diverted to destinations other than the designated polling units and collation centres only to be stuffed and outrageous results declared.

In Mbaashia area of Mbayegh/Mbaikyer Council ward for instance, the ballot boxes taken to the residence of one Dr. Orsugh Agera where massive thumb printing and stuffing of the ballot boxes was done. In Mbatser/Mbaikyer, Mbatwer, Kurav and Mbaiwarnya council wards, various sums of money ranging from N500 to N1, 500 were openly given to voters who had queued up to vote in order to induce them.

In addition, rather than announce results at the collation centre Gbagbo, the ward Returning Officer removed the result sheets and failed to declare the results at the collation centre thus raising doubts as to what transpired between Gbagbo and Tse-Agberagba. It is noteworthy that, all those malpractices and irregularities were perpetrated with the active connivance, collaboration, cooperation and participation of INEC staff.

In view of the above stated facts, we therefore on behalf of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Benue State call on the National Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega to do the following:

1. To effect the immediate removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alhaji Nasir O. Ayilara to pave way for free, fair and credible elections.

2. Reject and nullify the purported results manufactured by the PDP in Katsina-Ala, Ukum, the five wards in Gambe Tiev of Logo local government and Konshisha Local Government Area in Benue North-East in their its entirety in the Benue North-East senatorial District.

3. Reject the purported results manufactured by the PDP in Ado, Utonkon, Obi (where hired PDP thugs from Otukpo came with already thumb printed ballot papers and replaced the authentic ballot boxes).

– Otukpo, where no ballot boxes were sent to a good number of polling units.
-Ohimini, Apa and Okpokwu local government areas of Benue South Senatorial District and order fresh elections in the affected areas.

Thank you and God bless.

Prof Steve Torkuma Ugbah
ACN Governorship Candidate

: The PDP in Benue State introduced the use of violence in last Saturday’s election to enable it rig the votes. There is abundant evidence to show that, the results announced by INEC giving victory to PDP are based on rigged votes. We have a video clip of INEC officials thumb printing for PDP at Okpokwu. Also at Ohimini, Oglewu-Ehaji ward, 8,500 votes were recorded in the elections even though less than 4,000 voters were registered during the voter registration exercise. Voters in North-West Senatorial District were confused following an announcement by the Chairman of INEC on Thursday April 7, 2011 that elections were not going to hold in the “Benue North” Senatorial District. Most of our voters became confused and were not sure whether the suspended elections affected Benue North West or North East. In the event as it turned out, only Benue North West Senatorial District (Zone B) was affected. It is most unfortunate that, the basis for suspension of the election was misinformation by Alhaji Nasir O. Ayinlara; the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Benue State to the INEC Headquarters. He had told INEC headquarters that, he received only 84% of the materials needed for the election, whereas he had received over 93% of the materials required for the said election. Alhaji Ayinlara has since admitted his mistake which led to the unfair postponement of elections in Benue North- West and the creation of confusion in the minds of voters in Benue Senatorial zones A and B.

Ballot Snatching: Bayelsa, Delta, Imo Top List – Jega

Stanley Nkwocha, Edegbe Odemwingie and Bayo Oladeji, Abuja

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, told international poll observers yesterday that three states – Bayelsa, Delta and Imo – recorded the highest cases of ballot snatching in last Saturday poll. However, despite irregularities, isolated cases of violence and logistic lapses observed in the exercise, observers rank Saturday’s election high. In separate preliminary reports, international election monitoring missions to Nigeria, chiefly the Commonwealth; the European Union; and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), noted a marked improvement from previous exercises largely tainted by irregularities.

Receiving a combined delegation of international election observers at the headquarters of the commission, Jega said INEC was targeting the next election to correct the lapses recorded in the National assembly polls.

Jega is scheduled to meet his resident electoral commissioners (RECs) today in preparation for the presidential elections.

“There were problems with thuggery. Luckily, the police have made a number of arrests; in fact, earlier today, I got information that the police have arrested over 500 people, many of them thugs. The military have also arrested people who carried arms on the Election Day,” Jega said.

NDI in its preliminary report noted: “Increased citizen awareness, public confidence in the leadership of election authorities, and greater engagement by political parties and civil society all provided the basis for a break from previous failed elections,”

“However, continued vigilance is needed to realise the promise of these polls. Positive momentum must continue to build to meet the challenges that will be presented by the upcoming presidential and state elections.”

In the report, the delegation reeled out irregularities and lapses recorded by its observers which included late openings of polls; inaccurate, incomplete or missing voter lists; inconsistent application of procedures; underage voting; overcrowding of polling sites; lack of ballot secrecy; failure to post results at polling sites; and missing essential materials; isolated cases of omission of party logos on ballots, intimidation, vote buying and ballot box snatching.

“Unless these problems are addressed, they could adversely affect hotly contested presidential and gubernatorial races in which voter turnout is expected to be higher,” NDI said.

On the modified open ballot system adopted for the ongoing ballots which encourages eligible voters to “vote and wait”, the delegation advised a reversal of the voting system in future elections.

“We hope that as elections improve in the future, a less complicated and onerous process can be adopted,” the delegation said.

Chairman of the Commonwealth observer group to the Nigeria elections and former Botswana president Festus Mogae, in a statement on the National Assembly polls, said its observation teams noted several logistical deficiencies and procedural inconsistencies across the country.

“We do not believe that these called into question the overall credibility of the process…we feel that there is scope and time for certain measures to be taken to improve the conduct of the elections at the next round, especially if the turnout is larger-which we fully hope and expect to be the case,” the statement said.

Leader of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) in Nigeria Mr. Alojz Peterle said cases of underage voting, inaccurate packing of results forms and lack of display of the results in several polling units could affect the entire process except corrective measures are taken before the conduct of the remaining elections.

“We observed an overall encouraging conduct of the elections in a generally peaceful atmosphere. Our observers reported that the majority of visited polling units were operational, and that accreditation and voting were mainly conducted in a timely manner.

“However, problems such as inaccurate voters’ registers and inconsistent implementation of electoral procedures were observed and need to be addressed before the next elections,” Peterle said.

Following its loss of vital seats in last Saturday’s National Assembly polls, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains yesterday met at the Presidential Villa with a view to mapping out strategies for the elections slated for Saturday.

Indications emerged yesterday that apprehension had gripped the chieftains of the party nationwide, following the defeat of prominent members of the party during the National Assembly elections.

The electorate had voted out PDP giants like the speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo–Bello, Senator Kanti Bello and Senator Bode Olajumoke.

Unlike in 2007, when the PDP had about 90 of the 109 senators in its kitty in the National Assembly and about 320 of the 360 members of the House of Representatives, the party may barely sneak away with about 60 senators and 200 reps in the next political dispensation.

A source close to the leadership of the party confided in our correspondent that the development had rattled the party, saying that the leadership of the party never expected the heavyweights to lose the elections that were taken for granted.

He added that the party would be meeting in Abuja on Monday (yesterday) to deliberate on the issue and also map out strategy to neutralise the game plan of the opposition during the presidential election on Saturday.

According to him, the main objective of the meeting is to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan wins the election on the first ballot with majority votes.

He said: “I can authoritatively tell you that the party is worried about the inability of our prominent and brilliant members to return to the National Assembly. I must tell you that the leadership is not happy about the outcome of the election. And that is why an emergency meeting has to be summoned to deliberate on the issue. We are also putting in place certain strategy to ensure that the president wins of the first ballot.

Our correspondent further learnt that some of the party chieftains were not happy that Bankole conceded defeat to the ACN without conferring with the party leadership. It was gathered that the chieftains viewed Bankole’s action as too hasty on the grounds that the party was still reviewing the situation and might soon make its position known on the elections.

Despite the loss of the opposition to the ruling PDP in the National Assembly polls, they are undecided on what to do in order to wrestle power from Jonathan in this weekend’s election.

Out of the results of about 83 senatorial districts announced by the INEC nationwide, as at the time of filling this report, PDP has secured 52 seats followed by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with 13 seats. Both ANPP and CPC each won six seats, Labour Party three, APGA and DPP had one seat each.

A report in a national daily yesterday said that the opposition had begun meeting on the way forward with a view to adopting a presidential candidate of a party with the most members in the National Assembly. “The original plan was for the party that wins more National Assembly seats to produce a joint presidential candidate in an alliance, while the party that comes second would produce the leadership of National Assembly,” said one of the reports.

LEADERSHIP findings however proved contrary as all the three opposition parties involved in the alliance talks- the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), ACN and the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) –debunked the story in entirety.

Speaking with the spokesman of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of ACN, Ibrahim Moddibbo, he said, “It is our wish for all the opposition to adopt Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as joint presidential candidate but that has not happened and it would not happen until after the coming Saturday election when there would be a run-off. I am not aware of any meeting to that effect as I am talking to you now, may be after the Saturday election.”

Speaking in the same vein, the spokesman of ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said his party was still waiting to hear from other parties just as he disclosed that he was not aware of any meeting that going on among the opposition.

Mr. Yinka Odumakin, the spokesman of the CPC Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari described the story as “a mere speculation of the paper or the writer. I am not aware of such an agreement among the opposition. It is just their own speculation. We in the CPC are still working hard for the coming election but we know that we need the cooperation of other parties to defeat the monster called PDP.”

When asked if his principal was ready to step down, he said; “We have not reached that stage. The question of stepping down does not arise now.”

Mallam Sule Yau Sule, on his part completely denied the story. He refused to comment on it just as he denied any on-going meeting among the opposition involving his principal and the standard bearer of ANPP, Mallam Ibrahim Skekarau. According to him, “I am not aware of such plan. In fact I am hearing for the first time from you.” When he was referred to the newspaper that reported it, he said, “I am not aware, as such and cannot comment on what I am ignorant about.”

Leadership checks also reveal that each of the three parties strongly believes that the National Assembly poll cannot be the standard to measure the performance or acceptability of its candidate. According to one of the spokesmen who sought anonymity, “The Presidential election is a different ball game, so asking anyone to step down now is a huge joke. So you wait until the result is out. We know ourselves.”

Each of the three presidential candidates has told those who care to listen that he would not step down instead it is others that should step down for him. Whereas not a few pundits believe the presidential poll would be decided on the first balloting.

Ngige declared Anambra Central election winner

Nwanosike Onu

The controversy over the Anambra Central Senatorial District election has been laid to rest.

Ex-Governor Chris Nwabueze Ngige of the Action Congress of Nigeria (AC N) was last night declared the winner.

Returning Officer Dr. Alex Anene announced that Ngige polled 68,208 votes to defeat his closest rival, former Minister of Information Prof. Dora Akunyili, who scored 68,164 votes.

Mrs. Akunyili ran on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Senator Annie Okonkwo of the Accord Party (AP) scored 23,346 votes. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate scored 18,578. Two people, Oguguo Okoye and Chudi Offodile, are battling for the PDP ticket.

The Returning Officer, who announced the result at the Tourist Gardens Hotel in Awka under tight security, said he had all authentic results duly written on Form EC8.

“No one else has the authority to declare the result of this election. No result was cancelled; all of them are intact”, he said.

A big row had broken out over the result as Mrs. Akunyili and Ngige claimed victory in the election.

Anene on Sunday alleged that his life was in danger and vowed to quit the job.

He said he was offered N10million, a duplex and a car to announce the result in favour of Akunyili, instead of Ngige, who, he said, won.

Last night, Anene said he wanted to complete his assignment.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukogu, had earlier announced the cancellation of elections in 10 wards across four local government areas. He ordered a rerun. He also announced Prof. Charles Esimonye as the new Returning Officer who would handle the rerun poll after Anene’s alleged resignation.

Onukaogu said areas where the rerun election would take place are: Enugwu-Ukwu Ward I; Nimo Ward I and III; Nri Ward II, which has two units; Obosi; – Umunachi; Nkpor and Umuoji.

The wards are in Idemili North, Idemili South, Dunukofia and Njikoka local governments.

Onukogu said he canceled the elections in the four local government areas following protest from Ngige.

Charles Odedo of the ACN had earlier declared winner of the election in Idemili North/South federal constituency.

Akunyili last night declined to comment on the declaration of the ex-governor as winner of the election.

A lady who described herself as the Personal Assistant to Akunyili said on the telephone that her principal “is not the right person to answer this question.”

“If you listened to news this night (yesterday) you would have heard the results that were announced. That is what we know,” she said.

Abuja Election Shocker: 12 Persons Arrested With 1 million Presidential Election Ballot Papers!

By SaharaReporters, New York

The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has alerted Nigerians of massive efforts to print election ballots for the purpose of rigging next Saturday’s presidential elections, for which 12 people are now under arrest.

This follows the discovery by the police that over one million ballots had been printed at Tulip Press, an Abuja printer. The men are in police custody at Utako Police Station, Abuja, and the DPO, Mallam Usman Umar, has confirmed that the case has been transferred to the Force Headquarters.

In a statement issued this evening, signed by Rotimi Fashakin, the National Publicity Secretary of the CPC, the Congress said two men, Akinlolu Akinto and Habila Stephen, were first caught with 100,000 ballot papers loaded into a van. In the ensuing police investigation, the other one million ballots were discovered.

The CPC noted the allegation that TULIP Press was responsible for the fake ballot papers that have been found in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and other parts of North West.

“In another potential ‘show stopper’ for the presidential elections, our impeccable sources pointed that a lorry load of ballot papers had been removed from INEC stores to the Aso rock villa, ostensibly as samples for the view of Candidate Goodluck Jonathan,” the Congress said. “When INEC was confronted with this allegation, the veracity of which was confirmed we were told the matter is still under investigation!”

It said it recognizes that Saturday’s presidential election “is a ‘do or die’ for some because they have a lot to explain to the Nigerian people, should they lose,” for which no effort is being spared to ensure victory.
The CPC then appealed to its supporters to be even more determined to be prepared to give the final push for the espousal of a new Nation.

NASS Poll: PDP Survives Initial Scare, Remains Dominant But Weakened

THE WILL

SAN FRANCISCO, April 11, (THEWILL) – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may not be dead after all as initial reports from Saturday’s National Assembly elections had suggested. Though the party lost its absolute majority with significant defeats in the South West in states like Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Ogun, and key northern states which it initially held in Kaduna, Niger and Katsina, the party however put up an impressive performance in other key Northern states like Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa, Adamawa, Bauchi (1 senatorial seat so far), Kebbi and Kwara; South East (all states especially in Imo, which had been predicted to go to APGA), South South and the middle belt winning in states like Benue (2 senate seats), and Koji.

So far, the Independent National Electoral Commission has released results from 85 senatorial districts out of 94 districts where elections were held. The PDP has won 55 senatorial seats with the ACN coming a distant second with 13, while the CPC and the ANPP have 6 each. The LP won 3 while APGA and DPP have 1 each.

In the House of Representatives where there are 315 constituencies in play, with INEC declaring results in 183 races so far, the PDP has won 87 seats, the ACN 33, CPC 31, ANPP 20, LP 8 and Accord Party 4.

As Nigerians look ahead to Saturday’s Presidential election, the performance of political parties in the NASS election presents useful statistics for exit poll numbers.

BREAKING NEWS BY PUNCH Newspaper: INEC Cancels Anambra Central Senatorial Result

By Punch newspaper

The Independent National Electoral Commission has cancelled the result of the senatorial election in Anambra Central Senatorial District.

It said a rerun would be fixed for a date to be announced soon.

The decision was announced at a press conference in Awka by the newly appointed Returning Officer for Anambra Central, Prof. Charles Esinone. The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, also attended the briefing, where he told newsmen that Esinone had been replaced the former RO, Mr. Alex Anene.

The major candidates in the election are a former governor of the state, Dr. Chris Ngige (Action Congress of Nigeria); ex-Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili (All Progressives Grand Alliance); and the incumbent, Chief Annie Okonkwo (Accord Party).

The declaration of the result ran into a deadlock when Anene said on Sunday that he was being pressurised by officials of the state government and APGA to declare Akunyili as the winner of the poll.

He had told newsmen in Awka that the interests promised him a house, scholarship for his children and N10 million if he declared Akunyili as the winner of the election and accepted the ‘mutilated’ result from Njikoka Local Government Area.

He said he rejected the gifts and was quitting the assignment because his conscience would not allow him to announce a mutilated result.

Ngige swiftly petitioned INEC, asking it to cancel the result in Anaocha Local Government Area because 22,000 votes were allocated in it to Akunyili.

However, at a separate briefing at her campaign office in Awka, Akunyili said that before the election, Anene was arrested with fake poll monitors and later released on bail. She alleged that instead of going to report to the police, Anene called journalists and raised allegations against her party.

NASS Poll: PDP Survives Initial Scare, Remains Dominant But Weakened

THE WILL

SAN FRANCISCO, April 11, (THEWILL) – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may not be dead after all as initial reports from Saturday’s National Assembly elections had suggested. Though the party lost its absolute majority with significant defeats in the South West in states like Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Ogun, and key northern states which it initially held in Kaduna, Niger and Katsina, the party however put up an impressive performance in other key Northern states like Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa, Adamawa, Bauchi (1 senatorial seat so far), Kebbi and Kwara; South East (all states especially in Imo, which had been predicted to go to APGA), South South and the middle belt winning in states like Benue (2 senate seats), and Koji.

So far, the Independent National Electoral Commission has released results from 85 senatorial districts out of 94 districts where elections were held. The PDP has won 55 senatorial seats with the ACN coming a distant second with 13, while the CPC and the ANPP have 6 each. The LP won 3 while APGA and DPP have 1 each.

In the House of Representatives where there are 315 constituencies in play, with INEC declaring results in 183 races so far, the PDP has won 87 seats, the ACN 33, CPC 31, ANPP 20, LP 8 and Accord Party 4.

As Nigerians look ahead to Saturday’s Presidential election, the performance of political parties in the NASS election presents useful statistics for exit poll numbers.

Ngige Vs Akunyili: Anaocha Vote Tally Points To Fraud

By SaharaReporters, New York

Nigeria’s former Minister of Information, Dora Akunyili, who is APGA’s candidate for the Anambra Central senatorial seat, today condemned her ACN rival, Chris Ngige, for crying wolf over the conduct of last Saturday’s election. However, two sources – an INEC official as well as a police officer – told SaharaReporters that Mr. Ngige was clearly cheated out of victory through vote manipulation in Anaocha LGA.

A statement issued today by Isaac Umunna, Mrs. Akunyili’s special assistant on media, stated: “I am shocked and highly embarrassed that Ngige could stoop so low to make frivolous allegations of rigging in a desperate bid to delay the announcement of the election results by INEC.” The one-time NAFDAC Director-General who represented the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the polls described Ngige’s attitude as one, which is “not only shameful but also smacks of desperation for power.”

However, further investigations by SaharaReporters reveal that Governor Peter Obi engaged in voter intimidation and vote inflation in Anaocha, his local government area as well as that of Mrs. Akunyili.

An analysis of the provisional tally in the Anambra senatorial elections shows that Mr. Ngige might have been a victim of extensive electoral manipulation in Anaocha.

Mr. Ngige has already petitioned Chukwuemeka Onukogu, the Anambra electoral boss, to cancel the fraudulent elections in the Anaocha LGA where the governor’s rigging scheme was perfected.

The provisional tallies show that the ACN candidate would win outright in the election if the controversial vote numbers in Anaocha LGA were removed.

Mrs. Akunyili of APGA currently “leads” in the election through the addition of 22,281 votes credited to her from Anaocha local government. As the current results stand, Mr. Ngige has 65,576 votes whereas Akunyili has 66,267 – a tally difference of less than one thousand votes.

RESULTS OF ANAMBRA CENTRAL

S/NO LGA ACN APGA
1 ANAOCHA 4,561 22,481*
2 AWKA NORTH 1,787 4,245
3 AWKA SOUTH 11,973 12,510
4 DUNUKOFIA 6,297 4,513
5 IDEMILI NORTH 22,559 10,093
6 IDEMILI SOUTH 10,585 4,141
7 NJIKOKA 7,814 8,284
TOTAL 65,576 66,267

Ngige won, says INEC returning officer

Nwanosike Onu, Awka

•’I was under pressure to declare Akunyili winner’ •Ngige kicks

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returning officer/collation officer in Anambra Central Senatorial District, Alex Anene, has alleged that his life is in danger.

He claimed that he is being pursued by All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) officials and the state government because he refused the offer of N10million, a duplex and a car to announce the result in favour of APGA candidate Prof Dora Akunyili.

He said he was quitting the job because his conscience would not allow him to announce a mutilated result.

He said the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Dr Chris Ngige, won the election convincingly and not Akunyili.

“They promised to provide me with a car, N10million cash, and to build a duplex for me, but my conscience has been pricking me.

“They have threatened to kill me, they have rough-handled me, this people want to kill me, and right now I can not go back to my home.”

The man said he had a right to reject any result that is not properly documented according to the Electoral Act.

These results, according to him, from Njikoka were mutilated and that was why I rejected them, adding that government officials were after him.

Ngige has petitioned INEC to cancel the election result in Anaocha council area.

Ngige, who was at the INEC office yesterday, said before the “manipulation” of the result which gave 22,000 votes to Prof. Akunyili, he was leading with 15,000 votes.

“I am preaching peace but if this result should bring war in Anambra State, I will go for it in full force,” Ngige said.

He alleged that ACN agents were arrested and detained by APGA agents on the orders of Akunyili “and her cohorts”, adding that he would petition INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega.

The petition was addressed to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukogu.

Ngige’s petition, entitled Re: Electoral malpractices at Aguluzuigbo, Agulu, Obeledu and Adazi Nnukwu, was received by Anene.

Ngige requested for the reinstatement of his result at Umunachi Ward 1 in Dunukofia council area.

He alleged that there was an alteration in the result sheet by the PDP candidate for the House of Representatives.

Mrs. Akunyili, who also visited the INEC office, refused to talk to reporters.

 

PDP giants fall in battle for National Assembly

Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta, Soji Adeniyi, Osogbo and Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

 

SOME Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) giants recovered yesterday from the shock of defeat to speak on the National assembly elections.

House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankole, who lost to little known Mr. William Olusegun Samuel of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the Abeokuta South Federal Constituency and ex-Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola accepted defeat and congratulated the winners. Oyinlola was defeated by Prof. Sola Adeyeye with a wide margin of 129,527 votes against 49,001.

Samuel polled 28,490 votes to overwhelm Bankole, who got 23,103.

Bankole, in a statement by his media adviser Kayode Odunaro, said: “The whole election reflected the wishes of the people in our national quest to enshrine an enduring democracy for our nation.”

He said the election demonstrated an “abiding faith in democracy as an acceptable and veritable path for the development of our nation”.

“For me, the race was not a life-and-death duel. Of more importance is building, maintaining and developing our democratic institution and processes as a means towards true national development and greatness,” he stated.

He enjoined the losers to take their losses in good faith as in any such exercise there must be winners and losers.

The Speaker praised the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) and

Youth Corps members for successfully handling the polls, which President Goodluck Jonathan described as “the beginning of a free, fair and credible electoral process”.

Oyinlola, in a letter he personally signed yesterday, said: “Results have shown that, for me, the battle has been well fought and lost.

“I have just signed a congratulatory letter to Prof. Sola Adeyeye who won the election. In the letter I made it clear that his election was the wish of the people” which I respect.

“I also urged him to use the mandate for the upliftment of the People of Osun Central whose voice he would be in the Senate in the next four years. May God Almighty help him to carry the load.”

The ex-governor thanked his supporters for being steadfast. He urged them not to be disillusioned by “this setback, which was very unexpected. “I urge us to see this development as a challenge for us to work even harder in the remaining elections.”

Besides congratulating his opponent, Bankole also made a telephone call to the ACN leader in Ogun State, ex-Governor Segun Osoba, to congratulate the party.

Osoba said yesterday he was so impressed by the Speaker’s gesture which, in his view, reflected the “the true wishes” of the Abeokuta South Federal Constituency people, that he drove to Bankole’s house where he prayed for longevity and success in his future endeavour. Osoba described Bankole’s action as how democracy should be practised.

Among the heavyweights who kissed the canvas are Senators Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Isiaka Adeleke (Osun), Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello (Ogun), Iyiola Omisore (Osun), Kanti Bello (Katsina), Yisa Braimoh (Edo), Caleb Zegi (Kaduna), Gbenga Ogunniya and Bode Olajumoke( Ondo) and Patricia Akwashiki (Kaduna).

Other big wigs who lost are ex-Abia State Govenor Orji Uzor Kalu, ex- Adamawa Governor Boni Haruna, ex-Ondo Governor Olusegun Agagu, Senator Daisy Danjuma and controversial member of the House of Representatives Dino Melaye in Kogi State.

Among the winners are Senate President David Mark, who fought a grim battle to retain his Benue South Senatorial District seat and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, in Enugu. There are also Senators Uche Chukwumerije (Abia) and Chris Anyanwu (Imo).

Some of the new faces in the new dispensation are former Ministers Nenadi Usman (Kaduna) and Solomon Ewuga( Nasarawa); Rivers State Secretary to the Government Magnus Abe.

Other senators – elect are Gombe State Governor Danjuma Goje and the Ondo State Labour Party (LP) trio of Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, Messrs Boluwaji Kunlere and Patrick Akinyelure.

Jonathan described the electoral reform as “the beginning of a free, fair and credible electoral process.”

Jonathan, writing on his Facebook page, said: “When I assumed office as the President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 6th of May, 2010, I promised Nigerians I would focus attention on three key areas- Electoral Reform, Energy Security in the Niger Delta and Electricity Generation-The three Es.

“In the Niger Delta, we now have peace leading to a 20% increase in Nigeria ‘s oil production. On Electricity Generation, we now generate power at our highest level in 10 years. And on Electoral Reform, yesterday, you saw the beginning of a free, fair and credible electoral process.

“I, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, purposely made a conscious decision to break with the past and use the powers of the office of the President consistently for the good of the Nigerian people and not the power elite. In eleven months I have, with the help of God, kept faith with the Nigerian people especially in the areas I promised to give attention to and now I ask that you keep faith with one Nigeria .”

A Rattled Jonathan In Lagos to Pick Up “NGO” Endorsement

Jonathan GoodluckReeling from Saturday’s stormy National Assembly elections in which his party suffered significant setbacks, Goodluck Jonathan flew quietly into Lagos today to pick up endorsement from a few obscure members of the civil society. The ceremony took place at Eko Hotels in Lagos.

The group that endorsed Mr. Jonathan is led by Ibuchukwu Ejike, the executive director of a splinter group of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), and Francis Abayomi, the convener of a self-styled South- West Think-Thank on Democratic Governance (Yoruba Ronu), who works in the non-governmental sector.

Our sources noted that, apart from Mr. Ejike and Mr. Abayomi, no other known members of the civil society community were present. However, a source told us that aides of Mr. Jonathan shipped in other civil society people from out of Lagos to participate in what a civil society group director claimed was a “charade”.

Mr. Jonathan is facing a serious challenge in the upcoming presidential elections that is less than 6 days away. Many candidates of his People’s Democratic Party were trounced in various constituencies around Nigeria at Saturday’s parliamentary elections.

Our source disclosed that today’s parley with the “civil society” ended at 5:00 p.m. The source revealed that each participant at the event was offered N100, 000 ($700) in “transportation fare,” a custom of the Jonathan campaign.

Culled From SaharaReporters, New York