Monday, October 18, 2021

    Kalu petitions Jega over Abia election

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    Babatunde Akinsola
    Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports
    Orji Kalu
    Orji Kalu

    Former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has urged the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega to investigate the case of alleged impersonation of INEC officials during the National Assembly elections in Abia State.
    In a petition addressed to Jega and signed on Kalu’s behalf by K.C Nwufo, SAN and Associates, he said the election was inconclusive and invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non compliance with the provision of the electoral act.
    Kalu who contested for the Abia North Senatorial district on the platform of the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA) said that the elections were flawed with irregularities and impersonation and urged Jega to investigate the issues raised.
    The petition reads in part: “The said Abia North senatorial district comprises five local governments with the Ohafia local government headquarters designated as the headquarters of the district, while one Dr. Ihekweaba Chigoziem, an associate professor was appointed the returning officer by INEC.
    “The returning officer discovered palpable irregularities and corrupt practices in many of the results from the said local government areas. These irregularities were recorded by both security agents and INEC members of staff in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
    “Consequently, a committee was set up by the Abia State resident electoral commissioner, whereupon the committee discovered to its chagrin, numerous irregularities in the result which showed that the results could not have originated from the field of election. The committee delved into the exercise of investigation to fish out those involved in the corrupt practices and irregularities and further to ascertain the extent and effect on the entire process and the appropriate action to be recommended to the resident electoral commissioner and the returning officer.
    “The said exercise of the committee continued up to the first day of April 2015, and as such, the returning officer never collated the results nor declared any of the candidates winner. The returning officer was thus shocked to be informed that one of the candidates had been declared winner of the election by him.
    “As an associate professor who has his reputation and integrity to protect, the returning officer quickly deposed to an affidavit at the Federal High Court, Umuahia, refusing making any declaration on April 2, 2015.
    “It is in the light of the foregoing that we have been consulted to write this petition for you to use your good offices to investigate this matter with the seriousness it deserves. The culprits, who are members of staff of INEC and their cohorts should be fished out and brought to book with the offences of impersonating the returning officer under section 122(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended).
    “It is pertinent to note that it is the sole duty of the returning officer to declare the result under section 68 of the electoral act. We acknowledge your admonition to the world to ignore any result not declared by the returning officer and so the action of the said persons purporting to announce and declare a result when they are not the appropriate returning officer of the said election is calculated to spite you and to bring the good reputation of INEC to public ridicule. This should not be condoned and they must be made to face the legal consequences of their action in order to serve as a deterrent to others.”

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