INEC declares LP candidate Alex Otti Abia governor-elect
INEC in Umahia has declared Alex Otti the governorship candidate of Abia State winner of the gubernatorial election held on Saturday, March 18 2023.
The pronouncement was made a few minutes ago by the INEC returning officer for Abia State, Professor Otti at the collation center in Umohia on Wednesday.
Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had announced that they are suspending the collation of the governorship election results in Abia and Enugu States.
The Commission, in a statement by Barrister Festus Okoye, stated, “It will be recalled that our office in Obingwa Local Government Area was invaded by thugs yesterday, Sunday 19th March 2023, and our officials held hostage in relation to the collation of results from the Local Government Area”.
To this effect, the Commission then suspended the collation of results in the Obingwa LGA of Abia State, along with the Nsukka and Nkanu East LGA’s of Enugu State, saying that a review will be undertaken before the process in concluded.
They appealed to the candidates, parties, and the voters in the affected States for their understanding, as this process will also mean a delay in the announcement of the election results in both States.
Due to the suspension of election results, protests broke out in Abia State. The populace is pleading with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proclaim a winner for the 2023 gubernatorial election.
Both Labour Party and People’s Democratic Party supporters turned up in large numbers to protest the withholding of results and called for the declaration of their respective candidates as the winners of the election held on Saturday.
Alex Otti, the Labour Party’s candidate for the governorship election, was said to be ahead in 10 of the 16 local governments, with a margin of 95,618 votes putting him in the lead.
In the Obingwa LGA, which has a voter population of 154,000, only about 24,000 votes were accredited.
Yet, it has been claimed that members of the community have vowed to set fire to homes and start a riot if Okey Ahiwe, the PDP candidate, is not declared winner.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, Sonny Iroche, the convener and head of the Abia League of Professionals Initiative, condemned these threats and claimed that they are a result of Nigeria’s ineffective security bodies and measures.
He argued that, rather than causing the election to be thrown into disarray, the outcome of the election should be decided solely by the votes of the electorate and not by justices of the court.
He urged INEC to act morally and proclaim a winner, not allowing the populace to be driven to violence, in order to restore peace to Abia State and end rumours and suspicions.
“I had a broadcast yesterday calling on Abians to be patient, peaceful and not to be violent. They should never take the laws into their own hands but then, INEC has to do the right thing. You don’t push the people to the wall.”