Assembly Rerun: Enugu LP candidate wants new INEC team to conduct election

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Bright Ngene of the Labour Party (LP) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to send a new team to conduct the June 8 rerun election for the Enugu South Urban Constituency.

Ngene, who was the LP candidate in the 2023 General Election said he had lost confidence in the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Enugu State, Mr Chukwuemeka Chukwu and Enugu South Electoral Officer, Mr Francis Chigbu, in conducting the rerun.

The LP candidate made the call in a press conference held on Sunday in Enugu.

Narrating his ordeal, Ngene said that INEC declared him winner of the March 28, 2023 House of Assembly election for Enugu South Urban Constituency after scoring 5,862 votes while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 2,098 votes.

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“Consequently, I was inducted into the 8th Assembly of Enugu State with certificate of return issued to me by INEC.’

“So I consider this press conference an opportunity to inform the good people of Enugu State and Enugu South Urban Constituency in particular of what is happening around me and to the mandate they overwhelmingly gave to me.

“However, the PDP candidate, Sam Ngene, went to court challenging the victory, and praying the court to declare the election inconclusive, and order for a re- run.

“His contention was based on the ground that there was violence in the eight polling units situated at Ward 5, Uwani and Robinson Primary School that had 4,257 registered votes,” he said.

Ngene said the court found favour in argument of the PDP candidate that there was need to conduct a re-run election in the said eight polling boots which INEC scheduled the first re-run election on Feb. 3, 2024.

“On the said date the election could not hold because the original result sheet mysteriously and suddenly got missing under the watch of Enugu REC and Electoral Officer who could not give account of what happened to the original result sheets.

“Consequently, INEC re-scheduled the second re-run election on Feb. 14, 2024 but the election could not hold because PDP interrupted the election alleging that the original result sheet provided by INEC was fake.

“Furthermore, thugs started destroying INEC cubicles and other sensitive materials,” he said.

He regretted that INEC for reasons best known to them deliberately refused to investigate who in particular disrupted the election and refused to call for evidence even when it was brought to their notice.

He expressed disappointment that in spite of the alleged disruption of the election and also captured all over our social media, none of them had been apprehended or prosecuted till the time of this press conference.

“My utmost concern of this proposed 3rd time re- run election is that INEC is intending to allow or use the same Chukwu and Chigbu to conduct the election.

“While up till today no account has been given by the duo or INEC on what actually happened to the said original result sheet,” Ngene lamented.

According to him, I have lost confidence and trust in the integrity ofthe REC to conduct a credible, free and fair election.

“I equally wish to let the world know that it is now over nine months that Enugu South Urban Constituency seat has remained vacant and unrepresented at the Enugu State House of the Assembly.

“I therefore, passionately and humbly request the media, Non Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations, Election monitors, European Unions, and Other International Organisations to be on ground to supervise and monitor the election,” he appealed.

Reacting, the PDP candidate, Sam Ngene, denied the allegation of leading thugs to disrupt second rerun, challenging him to show the world the picture and video evidence.

He said, “I am working hard to prepare for my election on Saturday and what he is doing is laying blame and trying to preempt the election, which he needed to prove it.

“INEC conducted the election the first time that favoured him and he was in the House of Assembly for six months. He shouldn’t come out now to condemn the umpire that made him win first election.

“The said area for the rerun is my ward and stronghold where I had been a Councillor and also made me go for first term in 7th State Assembly.

“I have enough influence because of things I put on ground which has been fear,” he said.

All effort to reach Enugu REC proved abortive as he neither answered his phone calls nor return the text messages sent to him. (NAN)

By Alex Enebeli

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