Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of the State of Abia challenged Nnenna Oti, the returning officer of the state’s gubernatorial election on March 18, to name those who bullied her and attempted to bribe her when collecting her results. state.
According to the governor, the returning officer betrayed her trust in the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) with her actions during and after the vote.
Recall that Professor, Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), State of Imo, stated that she was bullied but denied being bullied before and during the collection of results at Umuahia.
Ikpeazu, who made the claim during a conversation with reporters in Umuahia on Friday, alleges that Oti apparently came to carry out ‘axe work’ against the state’s People’s Democratic Party, based on his statement after the election.
He also accused the returning officer of participating in the victory dance of Labor gubernatorial candidate Alex Otti through his actions after the election that was contrary to expected neutrality. of CENI officials. Ikpeazu added that he had expressed his concerns about Oti to the INEC authorities, but was assured that they trusted her.
Again, he denied meeting or having any contact with the returning officer and accused her of making too much noise.
“I wish I knew those who bullied her. I think she has been making too much noise out of nothing. The returning officer’s duty is essentially to tally results already collated from the wards through the local government and declare them. She can’t change results because she has no right to do that unless she went ahead and did something like that.
“But her reactions have betrayed the fact that she was overly excited about something. When you come to that kind of position dispassionately, whatever the outcome should not excite you. But the victory dance she participated in and her statements which are akin to confessions have betrayed the fact that she came for a hatchet job. It could be to reject or accept some results.
“I want the world to know that she is celebrating what she has no right to do. I have never met her before; I don’t have her telephone number but I’m aware that if she came to do the right thing, she has no right to change anything. In fact, she has no right to even reject results because those results were generated from the polling units and wards. Her celebration is unfortunate and unbecoming of somebody who was given that kind of responsibility at that level.”
On cash and vehicular gifts which have been donated to the returning officer by some highly placed Abians, after the election, Ikpeazu said; “You know that bribe can come before or after the event. If I tell you if you do this or if this is the outcome, this is what you will get, it is an inducement. It is also an incentive to behave in a certain way. So, could this be a fulfillment of a promise that if this is the outcome, this is what will happen. I think it is unprecedented, I don’t know where this has happened in Nigeria before.”
Ikpeazu further dismissed allegations that the collation of results was disrupted in the Obingwa Local Government Area. He stated that his investigations revealed that there was a plot to cancel all results from Obingwa LGA, which was resisted by youths of the area.
The governor alleged that the refusal to collate results at the ward level and attempt to move the collation center to Umuahia angered the youths of the area.
“I’m not aware of the hostage taking of any electoral officer in Obingwa LGA. I visited the area, but before I got there, the Commissioner of Police in charge of election in Abia South was there. Also, the Police Area Commander for Aba was there. The DSS was there. And when these high-ranking officers of these agencies go to such places, they do so with a retinue of their men.
“In fact, there was an armoured personnel carrier manned by soldiers stationed at the local government headquarters. There couldn’t have been a report of holding any election staff hostage. There is a limit to what I can say because the matter is already at the election petition tribunal.”