The independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared the Candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Professor Anthony Okorie Ani, winner of the Ebonyi South Senatorial bye-election held on 3rd February 2024.
The Returning officer of the election, Dr Eze Uchechukwu announced the result Sunday morning at Afikpo Local Government Collation Centre, said the APC Candidate pulled a total vote of 46,270 to defeat his closest rival, Ifeanyi Eleje of APGA who got 3,513.
He announced that other candidates got the following figures; Labour party, LP, Candidate Hon. Linus Okorie, 2,711 votes, while the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Barrister Silas Onu 2,783 votes.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Ebonyi State, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha has applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and Security Agencies over the peaceful bye-election in Ebonyi South Senatorial zone.
Emegha who stated this at Nguzu Edda, the headquarters of Edda Local Government Area after INEC announced the result described the exercise as transparent, free and fair.
On the allegations of irregularities from the opposition candidates of the All Progressive Grand Alliance(APGA), and the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Ifeanyi Eleje and Barrister Silas Onu respectively, Emegha said the complaints were coming from people who knew they had failed the election.
He said, “By what we have seen in the field, we have ample confidence that Professor Anthony Ani is the next senator. In the entire Ebonyi south, there was nothing like election rigging.
” I have been calling all the quarters and what I got was impressive that I should talk to INEC people to allow the people that have queued to be accredited and vote because of time because the time was already up for them.
“I told them no that since it is not four o’clock, they should allow them to vote. People turned out massively well. The opposition parties know they are going to fail. there was no snatching of ballot boxes.
“There was no vote buying; there was also no irregularities and snatching. The election we know was 100% transparent.
Meanwhile, Ifeanyi Eleje has said that the election was widely flawed, adding that there was a lot of intimidation.
According to him, there is no hope for this country until this trend is curtailed.
He said, “In fact, this is an off-season election we would imagine that the coverage area is smaller and so they would be better effective in managing the process, but it is flawed. It is completely flawed.
“The conduct was very widely flawed. There was a lot of vote buying, there was a lot of intimidation. In fact, intimidation was the worst. Now for the first time, in recent elections, INEC was telling people to accredit and go away.
“How can you tell people to accredit and go away? What it means is that you are going to use the accreditation details and thumbprint. I called their EO, but their EO was not picking up her calls. I called the REC, the REC picked up and told me she would call me back. Up till now as l am speaking no call yet So, it is just a hash, to be honest with you”, he stated.
On his part, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) candidate Barrister Silas Onu had accused the All Progressive Congress(APC) of ballot snatching, multiple thumbprinting and vote buying.
Onu, who disclosed this in an interview with journalists at Ishieke polling unit in Ohaozara local government area, said yesterday left his polling unit after voting owing to provocative activities by the ruling APC in the state.
According to him, he was going to review the election, saying that Nigeria’s democracy has descended into the level of disgrace and lawlessness.
“It is probably bye and not an election. That is what we are seeing, especially in Ohaozara local government area. There was no election. The former governor who has vowed he must win when you hear somebody say he must win, he is using thugs, compelling people to vote. In fact, they are holding people’s hands to thumbprint. When you vote for PDP, they will thumbprint for another party to invalidate it.
“Apart from that, they have been snatching ballot boxes. I do not know what they want to do with it but because the election petition tribunal or the Supreme Court has said BIVAS is of no use, they are now carrying ballot boxes, going to somewhere to thumbprint, not caring what accreditation figure in BIVAS will say. Of course, they will get the result sheet, write accreditation figures, write their result and move on.
“This is not healthy for democracy. I am satisfied that because of me, the whole of APC in Ebonyi South is not sleeping. It says something about the acceptance that I have here. So, I am satisfied to have caused them sleepless nights, I am satisfied to have made them spend so much money to steal the election.
“If I was not in the race, they would have gone to sleep and written their result. The fact that they tried to stop me through a procured court judgement and that did not stop me is a testament to their desperation in this election.
“So, we will review everything. We have one or two areas we already have by the box and we will see what happens after the elections. I am not someone who just jumped into an election, I know this thing will happen and I know where I will come from to stop them. They should go ahead.
“You see I have just left the polling unit because what they are doing there, they are trying to provoke a fight so that they will say Silas Onu is a violent person. Since yesterday morning my polling unit has been so busy. Actually, even the former governor came to my polling unit here and dropped money and left. All of them have been coming because they want to make sure by hook or crook, they win the polling unit and I have asked my people not to engage them.
“This is not an election. If it is an election, people will vote. Are you seeing anybody around? They are just there drinking under the tree. If you go there, you will see them drinking alcohol and their bar woman is there sharing money with them. She goes and she thumbprints on behalf of the people.
“I have videos of where they are sharing money. If you call security agents, they will say what can we do. You can call your thugs to intimidate them. I will not do politics that way. Our democracy has descended into this level of disgrace and lawlessness”, he said.