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Abia guber: group raises concern over delay to announce final result, calls on INEC to expedite review process

Umuahia—A group, The UNIPORT 80’s Alumni Friends of Alex Otti, has raised concern over the continued delay to announce the final result of the Abia State governorship election held over the weekend.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Saturday directed the immediate suspension of collation of the Abia governorship election results, citing alleged irregularities in some polling units particularly Obingwa Local Government Area where INEC office was invaded and collation was halted at the LGA.

Before the suspension midway into the collation of the guber result, Dr. Alex Otti of the Labour Party( LP) won a total of 10 out of the 16 Local Government Area results declared by INEC, polling a total of 171,747 votes more than his closest rival, Okey Ahiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with a total of 79,477 votes after winning five LGAs.

In a statement signed by some of its members including Benjamin Owuapu Willie, Eustace Odunze, Uloma Saya-Braide, Emeka Wigwe, Soala Edwinson Iyalla, Kobi Emmanuella-King, Rita Poroma and Oteh Dafiaghor, the group said although it was initially satisfied with INEC’s decision to suspend collation of the result given the reasons for the action, it is now uncomfortable with the delay.

The statement reads: “Today makes it three ((3) days after the conclusion of the Governorship/House of Assembly elections in Abia State, just like other states of the federation where elections took place.

“However, unlike all other states, the electoral umpire INEC has held onto the results of the outcome of the election in Abia State where our dear friend, brother, and compatriot Dr. Alex Otti was coasting home to an overwhelming victory. Ditto for nearby Enugu State.

“INEC informed the world in a press release that the process of declaring the results in Abia was being suspended due to the invasion of their office in Obingwa on Sunday 19th March 2023, by suspected thugs who also held their officials hostage, for hours!

“Their decision made sense to us like all other interested parties, and so we kept quiet. But events that have been playing out since yesterday are now giving us cause for serious concern.

“We think the process of review seems to be taking too long and is opaque, thereby leaving the candidates, especially Mazi Alex Otti, who already has a clear and unassailable lead, and his supporters in a state of anxiety.

“We, therefore, wish to inform the INEC Leadership that Mazi Otti’s numerous supporters, admirers, and associates all over the world are watching their activities very keenly. ”

The statement further called on INEC “to expedite the review process and move forward with the announcement of the outcome as the original results of all the local government areas, including Obingwa are already known to the world as captured on the INEC server, after being uploaded at the various polling units by their Adhoc Staff, with all the various Party Agents possessing copies.

“We hope INEC as a supposedly independent body will do the right thing expeditiously in order to douse the unnecessarily generated tension in Abia State and beyond.”

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