By; KENNETH ORUSI, Asaba
Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), House of Representatives for Isoko Federal Constituency, Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, has called on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) and other relevant authorities to investigate the alleged irregularities that marred the just concluded last week Saturday’s national Assembly election in Isoko and prosecute those involved.
According to Joel-Onowakpo, following the irregularities over 41,000 eligible voters were denied the opportunity to choose who to represent them in the green chamber during the national Assembly election in Isoko federal constituency, saying that the abuse of law should be addressed and bring the perpetrators of “this heinous crime to book and be punished adequately, while the anomaly should be corrected.”
Joel-Onowakpo in statement titled “Delay Is Not Denial: Our Victory Is Sure”, to review the last week Saturday’s election in the federal constituency, signed by his Media Aide, Obah Sylva and made available to newsmen, stated that the election was allegedly disrupted in Isoko North local government area and the process was purportedly hijacked by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), hoodlums and other irregularities that took place, saying “this ignoble act has delayed our victory song.”
“The National Assembly election which held on Saturday, 23rd of February, 2019 in Isoko Federal Constituency witnessed a massive turn out by enthusiastic supporters, who desire change, and voting went on peacefully until the peaceful atmosphere was disrupted in Isoko North Local Government Area and the election process was hijacked by PDP hoodlums and other irregularities that took place. This ignoble act has delayed our victory song.
“Based on the report from Election Observers and agents of our political party, election ballot papers and results sheets were not supplied to Olomoro Ward 6, which denied 11,033 eligible voters the opportunity to choose their Representative. Similarly, in Umeh/Erowha Ward which was clearly won by Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, the APC Candidate, was cancelled with another 6044 voters disenfranchised.
“Additional votes in favour of the APC candidate cancelled in other units in Isoko South Local Government Area were in excess of 13,000. In Isoko North, there were also cancellation in excess of 11,000 votes. There was also no election in Okpe-Isoko and Oyede as the ballot boxes and other materials were hijacked. Results later emerged in favour of the PDP candidate.
“Consequent upon the above activities, over 41,000 eligible voters were denied the opportunity to choose who to represent them. We are yet to understand how a heavily rigged election with about 11,000 winning margin can be termed as a successful election, when there are over 41,000 votes that are outstanding.
“We are calling on the Chairman of INEC and relevant authorities to investigate this abuse of law and bring the perpetrators of this heineous crime to book and be punished adequately, while the anomaly should be corrected.
“We also wish to call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to use his good offices to correct this anomaly, which should not allow a thief to hide behind legal processes. We wish to appeal to our supporters to remain calm, while we explore every available measure to reclaim our mandate.”, the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), has stated that currently the Electoral Officer in charge of the local government, Mrs. Blessing Suleiman is being investigated following a petition written against her by a law firm, Felix, Igelige and Associates, on behalf of a socio-political group, Ithihikpe Campaign Organization, for allegedly compromising the national Assembly election in the area.
Responding to the petition, in a letter signed by the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Cyril Omorogbe, stated that the commission has commenced the immediate investigation of the Isoko South Electoral Officer, Mrs. Blessing Suleiman over the allegations raised against her by the Ithihikpe Campaign Organization and if found culpable, the needful will be done.
“While these allegations are yet to be established, the commission will leave no stone unturned to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible election. We make bold to say that all issues raised are currently being investigated and addressed. Once it is found to be as alleged, the commission will do the needful.”, Cyril Omorogbe said.