Aggrieved indigenes of the Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency protested, on Saturday at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Umuahia, Abia State over the declaration of winners stating that no election was held in different wards of the Constituency.
Carrying placards that read ‘No imposition of candidates’ ‘we want our vote to count,’ ‘INEC abusing our human rights’ and many others, the angry protesters stated that they wanted INEC to conduct a fresh election in the areas affected as they have the right to elect their representatives.
Speaking with one of the spokesmen of the group Mr. Kalu Ojigwe Uduma, who is the Secretary General of the Nkwoebi community in Ohafia Local Government Area, revealed that he had his voter’s card and was at his polling unit on the day of the election but waited in vain for INEC who failed to show up.
‘We have 47 polling units in Isiama ward. On the day of the election, we were armed with our PVC but unfortunately, INEC did not show up. We went to OGS Ohafia and saw hidden ballot papers. They only brought it out when army personnel asked the INEC official where the ballot papers were. The official went inside and brought it. It was already 5 pm on that day. We protested about the time and the injustice telling them that we cannot vote that day as it was already late. They told us to go back to our polling units at 6 pm that they were coming. Unfortunately, some corpers were beaten and they said they won’t conduct the election again. All electorates were there including the aged among us. They told us the election will be conducted on Sunday but on Sunday, the INEC officials never showed up. We heard it will hold on Monday but on Monday, it was the same issue. On that day, we heard the result of the election.
We were confused as we knew that no election was held in Ohafia Local government so how did they count our votes? We have 25 polling units in Okanu wards but nobody voted in these areas so how did they count our votes? This is why we came.
Does it mean that we do not have the right to vote for our representatives? I’ve my PVC as well as others so INEC should fix a date for us so we can exercise our franchise. I want to vote for somebody that will remember me. Somebody that will speak the truth always because when good persons are on the throne people will rejoice. All the people of Isiama, Okamu wards in Ohafia are not happy. We want to vote.’
Speaking further, another protester identified as Dorcas Kalu Awa Obasi asked how INEC got the votes it counted in Ohafia, Arochukwu, and Abam wards.
‘Does it mean that people of Ohafia and Arochukwu are no longer indigenes of Abia State and Nigeria? Is it that INEC is not seeing the suffering of the masses? Why will they disenfranchise people who want to elect their representatives for good representation? We want to vote in our candidates so we appeal to INEC to conduct an election in Ohafia/Arochukwu Federal Constituency so we can cast our votes for our representatives.’
Meanwhile, the election which was conducted on the 25th of February produced the former Governor of Abia State Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu as a returning Senator for Abia North Senatorial District under the aegis of the All Progressive Congress and also Hon. Chief Ibe Okwara Osonwa of the Labour Party as the House of Representatives member-elect, Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency.