The All Progressives Congress has congratulated a former President of the Senate, David Mark, for his victory in the Benue South Senatorial rerun election held Saturday.
Mr. Mark was declared winner early Sunday morning amid protest by his main challenger, Daniel Onjeh, who demanded that the election be declared inconclusive.
The former senate president scored 84,192 votes, leaving a margin of 12,571 votes between him and Mr. Onjeh, who garnered 71,621 votes.
A total of 29,273 votes were cancelled.
After Mr. Mark was declared winner, Mr. Onjeh’s agent, Eloyi Ogbeh, protested, saying the number of cancelled votes (29,273) was higher than the margin of win (12,571).
He therefore contended that the election should have been declared inconclusive.
He also accused INEC of cancelling votes in APC’s strongholds, and indicated that his party and its candidate would challenge Mr. Mark’s victory.
But despite the protest by its own candidate, the APC congratulated Mr. Mark, in what appears an endorsement of the result declared by INEC.
“Congratulations to Senator David Mark, who has just been declared winner, Benue South Senatorial rerun election,” the party said via its twitter handle, @APCNigeria. The APC is known to have used that handle to disseminate official messages since 2013.
The message was posted at 8:46 A.M, about four hours after INEC declared Mr. Mark winner of the election.
When contacted, the Assistant Director of Publicity at the APC headquarters, Edegbe Odemwingie, asked for time to revert with an official statement from the party on the matter.
He is yet to do so at the time of this report.
But the campaign of the APC candidate told PREMIUM TIMES it was not aware that the ruling party had congratulated Mr. Mark.
“Anywhere in the world, it’s candidates of elections who congratulate their opponents, not their parties,” Okpokwu Ogenyi, the spokesperson for the campaign, said.
Mr. Ogenyi said the result declared by INEC did not reflect the wishes of the Idoma/Igede nation.
“The people came out enmasse to vote for change but Mark colluded with INEC and security agencies to manipulate results,” Mr. Ogenyi said. “We won’t accept that. We are calling for the cancellation of results in Opoku, Agatu and Otukpo.”