INEC fixes April 25 for rescheduled Cross River elections

INEC voter's Reg

Edem Darlington

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said the rescheduled elections for the two remaining constituencies in Cross River State House of Assembly will hold on April 25.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Okey Ezeani, said the elections which were rescheduled from April 11 to 18, had to be shifted further to the last Saturday of the month.

“By this, we expect all political parties to be fully prepared and to conduct themselves according to electoral norms,” Mr. Ezeani said.

Elections for Biase and Yakurr state constituencies were declared inconclusive during the April 11 governorship and state assembly elections.

Meanwhile, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress has expressed disappointment over the conduct of INEC during the April 11 elections, calling it a sham.

The party said in some places elections could not be said to have taken place as hoodlums hijacked electoral materials and intimidated voters.

Usani Usani, chairman of the party in the state said they were “rigged out”.

“It’s unfortunate how things went,” he said. “It’s a sham and complete failure. What we saw was something else except election.”

The spokesperson for the party in the state, Mens Ikpeme, said the party was terribly disappointed over the action of INEC. He said the electoral body in fairness is supposed to cancel the elections, owing to the widespread irregularities and intimidation that characterized them.

“In places like Mayne Avenue by Okpo Ene, White House by Nyong Edem, people dressed in military uniform came around and arrested the youth corpers, chased away voters before carting away election materials,” Mr. Ikpeme said. “Several machete cuts were dealt on Pastor Sunday, our candidate for Yakurr. He is in a critical situation in the hospital.”

He maintained that elections were not held in about 80.8 per cent of the polling centres across the state. “In Akamkpa LGA, card readers were not used at all except in two wards.”

However, the REC said all participating political parties must ensure they prepare for the rerun election and play according to the rules.

The returning officer, Comfort Ekpo, who is also the vice chancellor, University of Uyo, announcing the results of the election, declared PDP’s Ben Ayade winner as well as all PDP members for 23 seats elected, except in two constituencies Biase and Yakurr inconclusive.

According to Mrs. Ekpo, Ben Ayade polled a total of 342, 016 votes to defeat his closest rival, APC’s Odey Ochicha, who scored 53, 983 votes.

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