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EnuguDecides2023: INEC Overreaching Itself, Should Stick To Mandate — PDP 



The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is over reaching itself and should stick to its mandate of seeing through the completion of the electoral process.

Mr Nana Ogbodo, Spokesperson of the Campaign Council of the Enugu State PDP, said this on Monday in a news conference.

The news conference was held shortly after INEC suspended the collation of the final results and declaration of a victor in the March 18 Enugu State Governorship Poll.


Ogbodo said that the PDP was disappointed at the decision of INEC; adding that putting the Abia and Enugu situations in one basket clearly shows that the national headquarters of INEC is mixing things up or had not been properly briefed.

According to him, that is why we are saying that INEC is over reaching itself; they have no powers at this stage to suspend the pronouncement or declaration of the winner of the election, which is our candidate.

He noted that the situation in Enugu State is not on all fours with what is happening in Abia State. In Abia State, they were still collecting and doing some collation.

Ogbodo noted that in Enugu State, the collation of results had been completed.

The spokesperson said the entire process had become functus officio and not for the Returning Officer to begin to probe into the result because there is a law that permits anybody, who is dissatisfied with the process, to go to the tribunal.

“Unlike the situation in Abia State, the results of the entire 17 LGAs of Enugu State, including those of Nkanu East and Nsukka LGAs have been fully collated by the Returning Officer, Prof Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe.

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“What remains for the INEC is to sum up the returns by the Local Government Returning Officers and declare our candidate, Dr Peter Mbah, the governor-elect.

“Section 64(8) of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that where collation has been completed as in the present case of Enugu State, the duty of the collation officer, who collated the result, is to announce the result and make a declaration.

“Therefore, having collated the results from Nsukka LGA and Nkanu East LGA, the statutory duty and legal responsibility of the State Returning Officer is simply to announce and declare the results.

“INEC cannot, by law, suspend the declaration of results already collated,” he said.

Ogbodo said that issues relating to accreditation and votes cast in a polling unit and the fate of such votes where they exceed the number of accredited voters in such units are guided by Section 51(2) of the Act.

He noted that the position of the law is that a Returning Officer has no power to cancel any results at the stage of collation.

“The only option open to any person dissatisfied with the process is to resort to Section 130(1) of the Electoral Act, which vests the power to receive and adjudicate petitions complaining of an undue election or undue return in an election in the tribunal or court.

“We believe that the Returning Officer for Nkanu East Local Government Area has duly complied with the provision of Sections 64(4)(a)&(b) and Section 64(a)&(d) of the Electoral Act 2022.

“We consequently restate our position that the only option left to INEC acting through the State Returning Officer for the Enugu State Governorship Election under Section 64(8) of the Electoral Act 2022 is to announce the results and make a declaration of the winner of the election.

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“We, therefore, call on INEC to immediately announce the results it has already collated and declare Dr Peter Ndubisi Mbah the winner of the March 18 election,” he said.

The PDP spokesperson said that Nigerians witnessed the restiveness of the youths and people of the state as well as the electorate that massively voted for our candidate today.

He said that Enugu State had had this history of a peaceful conduct of elections, especially in the last seven years, adding that the state had never been identified as a volatile point, not in the least this one when PDP lost crucial elections.

“Our senatorial candidate lost his election to return to the senate. It was the same process that produced the result that gave the Labour Party the victory that also produced the Governorship because Nkanu East is in the Enugu East Senatorial Zone,” he said.

The PDP stalwart warned that INEC and Labour Party should not take the patience of the electorate and people of Enugu State for granted.

“We know what it has taken us today to rein in their voluminous anger as it relates to the delay in the declaration of Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah as governor-elect.

“We are calling on INEC to cease forthwith this foot-dragging and declare our candidate the duly elected candidate in the just-concluded governorship election,” he added.

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