On Tuesday, scores of Bende women and youths staged a protest demanding a cancellation of the results of the February 25 presidential and NASS elections in the Bende federal constituency of Abia.
The protesters blocked the busy Uzuakoli-Akara Road, causing heavy gridlock. They displayed placards with different inscriptions decrying the poor conduct of the polls in the area and alleged falsification of the results.
According to them, the results from the polling units showed that Peter Obi and Frank Chinasa of the Labour Party won the presidential and House of Representatives elections.
The spokeswoman for the protesters, Chinechetam Mbah, said the Labour Party received the bulk of the votes from the area.
Ms Mbah, however, expressed shock that the results announced by INEC were far above the original votes.
“We voted massively for LP in Bende. Unfortunately, the results announced by INEC did not in any way reflect the huge votes the party got from here. This is really painful, to say the least. We demand an explanation from INEC,” she said.
She further said that results collated at the polling units in the area were not uploaded to the INEC portal by electoral officials, alleging that INEC’s failure to transmit the results contrary to its promise provided room for manipulating the original votes against the Labour Party.
“This is because INEC did not provide logistics and transportation to move materials to all the polling units and so elections did not take place in many wards that are LP strongholds,” added Ms Mbah, complaining that many residents could not vote. “It is unfortunate that the entire process was faulty, beginning with the delay in the distribution of materials to the failure of BVAS to function optimally.”
Another protester, Grace Nnamdi, from Uzuakoli Ward A, complained that results were not announced at the polling units.
“INEC took results away with the BVAS without announcing the results at the polling units. There was no ward collation of results,” Ms Nnamdi said.
Other voters, including Nkeiruka Obilor and Nneoma Jonas from Lodu Ward 005, said they were disappointed with the final result “because our people voted massively for LP.”
Mr Chibuisi Ukaegbu complained that the INEC discouraged many people from participating in future elections.
“I dare to say that INEC altered results from Bende. It was better that elections did not take place in Bende. That would be better than robbing the people of their votes for their preferred candidates and giving them to other candidates,” stated Ms Ukaegbu.
She added, “We have seen that elections in Nigeria are an exercise in futility and a waste of time because people”s votes would not count in elections.”
Source: Peoples Gazette
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