By; MKPUMA ENYINNA, Abakaliki
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State has lamented that the mandate of the party was stolen by the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), during the March 18 gubernatorial election in Ebonyi State.
According to the acting chairman of the party in Ebonyi State, Barr. Ifeanyi Nworie, while briefing newsmen in Abakaliki over the outcome of the election, he said that the election was marred by violence, killings, electoral manipulations, intimidation and desecration of electoral rules.
He noted that the outcome of the election is not acceptable by the party and they will do everything within the ambit of the law to reclaim the stolen mandate.
Barr. Nworie expressed dissatisfaction over the spurious manufacturing of electrical results which upturned the victory of Dr Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii, saying Dr. Odii was duly elected by majority of the votes cast.
“Gentlemen of the press, it is obvious that what happened on 18th was a melodramatic replay of what happened during the Presidential/National Assembly Election of 25th February, 2023. We wish to hereby state categorically and unequivocally that the APC perfected a pre-determined charade in collaboration with INEC announced concocted results, which were absolutely condemnable and unacceptable to us. INEC never acquitted itself creditably with patriotism and the high sense of responsibility expected of it.
“The people of Ebonyi State attest to the fact that there is a pall of gloom, disquiet and discontentment in the state since the release of the concocted results which the Independent National Electoral Commission in Ebonyi State manufactured to deny the PDP candidate his hard-earned victory following his very impressive showing due to his mass followership by Ebonyi people and his state-wide acceptability. They have murdered the sleep of Ebonyians but the murderers will not sleep until they restore the people’s mandate to the legitimate owner.
“Consequently, it has become expedient for us to express our disgust, indignation and dissatisfaction over the spurious manufacture of results that upturned the victory against our illustrious and promising candidate, Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii. We unflinchingly state that our candidate was duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast in the election for the office of the Governor of Ebonyi State.
“Our opponents in APC resorted to electoral manipulations, violence, killings and the desecration of electoral rules. In Ezza North LGA, the Chairman of PDP in the Council Area was murdered by elements believed to be APC thugs on election day. The same thing happened in Onicha Igboeze, where a PDP agent was shot dead in similar circumstances,” he said.
The chairman further stated that before the commencement of 2023 general elections, the ruling All Progressives Congress stripped them of campaign venues, unleashed multiple attacks carried out to disrupt and rig the election. He therefore, stated categorically that they are going to court to reclaim the mandate.
“We note that in the build up to the commencement of electioneering campaign in the country, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) stripped the opposition of level playing field by denying them campaign venues, generated and unleashed multiple modes of conflict and sporadic attacks determinedly perpetrated to perfect disruptions, violence, vandalism, snatching of electoral materials, voter intimidation and suppression, manipulations of results and a plethora of fraudulent practices during the elections. The APC eminently applied the services of the Ebubeagu security operatives which transformed to Neighbourhood Watch to oppress members of the opposition political parties in the state and intimidate voters on the election day.
“The APC, which had ingloriously declared that it would take victory at the polls at all costs, largely and stridently executed their nefarious acts of threats, palpable dislocation of peace and security, and satiated the Ebonyi environment with a pall of fear. Notwithstanding, the All Progressives Congress’ declaration of readiness to take victory at all costs, disruption of the process, violence, killings, ballot box snatching, the people came out owing to their love for our candidate and gave his votes that ought to and should expressly give him victory. Eventually, the APC lived up to their declarations by ingloriously manipulating the results in their favour.
“It is an established fact that electoral processes in other climes are endued with acclaimed standards that accord them acceptability. It naturally flows from actual occurrences of freedom from disenfranchisement, fairness, and credible outcome devoid of doubts.
“In the light of the foregoing, the 2023 governorship election in Ebonyi State was marred by irregularities, glaring cases of violent intimidation of the opposition, unlawful management and dispositions of the umpire that rendered them unacceptable and void as it lacked substantial compliance with the Electoral Act 2022, the electoral guidelines and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
“The APC government had on several occasions threatened violence to Ebonyians, which they carried out during the conduct of the election.
“Civil society groups and foreign observers have pointed out the elections conducted in Ebonyi State were marred by irregularities and we’re not in consonance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“A large number of our supporters were unlawfully arrested by security agencies. We call on Security Agencies to release them immediately and unconditionally.
“We call on security agencies to unconditionally release all our members and supporters in various detention facilities in the state.
“Arising from these monumental irregularities, we state that the declaration of any other candidate instead of Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii is of no effect whatsoever. The results in our possession indicate otherwise.
“We make it clear that we are absolutely determined to prove that, based on the valid votes cast at the Governorship election of 18th March 2023, the Dr Odii scored the highest number of votes cast at the election and not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the local governments in the state. As such, he ought to be declared and returned as the winner of the Governorship election.
“We urge the people of Ebonyi State to remain calm and be assured that the mandate they have given to Dr. Odii but was stolen will certainly be recovered. Our legal team has been adequately briefed and nothing will deter us from retrieving the mandate,” he said.
Reacting to the development and other similar occurrence alleged to have been carried out by APC, the state chairman of the party, Hon. Stanley Okoroemegha debunked the allegations, stating that the election was peaceful and transparent and wondered why some persons decided to paint the image of the party in a bad light, adding that fair treatment and level playing ground was given to all political parties during the election.