The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has directed that the collation of results for the Enugu State governorship election should be paused to allow the commission to look into allegations of irregularities in the election, an official has said.
The Returning Officer for the election, Maduebibisi Iwe, announced this on Monday at the State Collation Centre.
Although results from the 17 local government areas in the state have been collated and announced as of Sunday night, the declaration was delayed due to allegations of irregularities in three local government areas by some agents of political parties.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that at the collation centre, on Sunday, the Labour Party (LP) agent, Eugene Edeoga, demanded the cancellation of results from Nkanu East over alleged non-usage of BVAS during the election at the council area.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agent, who identified himself simply as Uzo, also demanded the cancellation of results from Nsukka Local Government Area over alleged irregularities.
The party agent for New Redemption Party also demanded the cancellation of results from Enugu East Local Government Area, alleging that there were cases of voter intimidation and suppression in the area.
Following the demands, the Returning Officer, Mr Iwe, a professor and vice-chancellor of the University of Agriculture, Umudike, asked the party agents to submit a written petition against the results from the council areas for consideration the next day, on Monday.
He subsequently adjourned the collation session till Monday by 8 a.m.
Pausing of collation
On Monday, Mr Iwe, while addressing the people at the collation centre, denied allegations from unnamed persons that the adjournment was intended to change the collated results.
“I assure you that the collated results are intact,” he said.
Mr Iwe told the gathering that the agents of the political parties had submitted their petitions against the results of the elections from three council areas.
The petitions have been forwarded to the INEC headquarters, he said.
The returning officer said he had been directed by INEC authorities to pause the collation of results and give them some time “to look into the petitions from the agents” for action.
Asked how long the commission would take to respond, Mr Iwe said he would not be able to determine the time for the commission’s response.
“They (INEC) have the right to hear what the agents have complained about and maybe give us an idea on what to do or not,” he said.
“But I am prepared to end this process even within five minutes, as long as they tell us what to do,” Mr Iwe stated.
Based on the results announced on Sunday, the race for the Enugu governorship is a close one between the PDP and the Labour Party with the PDP having a narrow lead.
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