By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
The incumbent Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial Zone has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh exercise in the zone especially in places where problems were encountered to ensure free and credible election in the zone.
Umeh who is seeking a second term to the red chambers observed that INEC lost control of the exercise in the area, hence the reason for the delay indeclaring the result of the exercise three days after.
Addressing journalists in his country home of Aguluzigbo, the senator regretted that though the presidential election which took place at the same time with the national assembly election has since been released by INEC, while the commission is yet to declare the result for the senate following alleged anomalies observed in some polling units at Obosi and Abatete, both in Idemili North local government area in the zone.
Umeh said, “The fact that the election results for Anambra Central has not been declared is an indication that all is not well.
“INEC said that accreditation must be done with card readers, but in majority of the places, card reader did not work and the electoral umpire resorted to the use of manual voting, which made it to lose control of the exercise.
“The result being turned out by INEC in the zone showed that card reader did not work. In my place where it worked, the proper thing was done. In Obosi and Abatete, for instance, where violence marred the exercise, INEC was still trying to generate results several days after the election.”
Umeh insisted that the election was highly manipulated in Anambra Central saying that it explains the reason, for INEC’s difficulty in releasing the result.
He added, “In many places where the card reader was not used, hoodlums were brought in buses and they voted without proper accreditation.
“Because it lost control, INEC resorted to asking agents of political parties to bring their duplicate copies to enable it compute the results, which is not proper. If the commission does not have original result, then there is nothing to compute.
“INEC left some flanks open for manipulation, which was why even unregistered people were allowed to vote in some polling units. The INEC guideline specifically said that in the event of card reader not working, the election should be shifted.
“Since INEC cannot arrive at anything after three days of the election, the only way to remove the impasse is for the election to be cancelled in the affected places so that the card reader can be used.
“For failing to follow the electoral guideline, the best thing for the commission to do is to cancel the exercise in the affected areas and order for a repeat.”
While saying that election should not be a do or die affair, the former national chairman of APGA noted that the right thing must be done to ensure the credibility of the exercise.
Umeh contested the election on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, with Mrs. Uche Ekwunife of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as his main opponent.