-Official detained in Abuja
The compromised Electoral Officer (EO) behind the inconclusive governorship poll in Anambra State and his accomplice were relocated yesterday to Abuja for interrogation by the police and other security agencies.
Besides, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) raised an Administrative Panel of Enquiry on the flawed poll.
But there were strong indications that INEC would not cancel the poll because of legal constraints.
The two suspects were moved to Abuja from police custody in Enugu.
A top security source said: “When the affected EO was arrested, he was taken into custody in Enugu by the police. But INEC management was uncomfortable because Enugu State is closer to Anambra State and members of the syndicate might try to influence the investigation.
“Those who are desperate to cover up can act funny beyond what the police in Enugu State could manage.
“So, the police and other security agencies decided to bring the EO to Abuja. While the EO is being grilled, his ‘accomplice’ was also nabbed and ferried to Abuja.
“The two suspects have been undergoing questioning on how they collaborated to mess up the process last Saturday.
“We hope that their responses might lead to more arrests in the next few days.”
It was also learnt that the embattled EO would be queried today by the INEC panel.
A National Commissioner of INEC said: “The Administrative Panel will look into how the poll became inconclusive, consider reports of EOs on late arrival of materials and omission of names on voters’ register; examine the roles of some INEC officials and make appropriate recommendations.
“All EOs and other officials have been recalled to bring in their reports for consideration by the Administrative Panel, which would sit from now till Saturday or Sunday.
“Hopefully by Monday or Tuesday next week, the INEC management will meet to consider the report of the panel and set the date for Supplementary Election in some local governments.”
Asked if INEC would conduct a fresh governorship poll in Anambra State, the source said: “We know that there is an agitation in that respect, but we are constrained by the Electoral Act.
“Once the results of any election has been announced by the Returning Officer, neither the INEC chairman nor the commission itself can review or upturn it. Only a tribunal or court can overrule the Returning Officer.
The source quoted Section 68 as saying: “The decision of the Returning Officer on any question arising from or relating to –
(a) unmarked ballot paper
(b) rejected ballot paper; and
(c) declaration of scores of candidates and return of a candidate, shall be made subject to review by a tribunal or court in an election petition proceeding under this act.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the election inconclusive.
At exactly 6:10am, the Returning Officer, Prof James Epoke, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) said a supplementary election would be conducted at a date to be fixed by the electoral umpire.
The main reason for declaring the election inconclusive, according to Epoke, is that for a candidate to emerge the winner, he must have scored not only the highest number of votes cast, but should also garner 25 per cent in two-thirds of the local government areas.
Apparently because of the large number of cancelled votes, which stood at 113,113, no candidate scored the required percentage.
The commission examined the votes of the winner and the runner-up to see whether the difference is less than the cancelled figure, which was not so.
All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate Willie Obiano polled 174,710 votes to come first. The first runner-up, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Tony Nwoye polled 94,956 votes to place second.
The difference in the figures for the first two candidates, which is 79,754 less than the cancelled votes (113,113) prevented the commission from declaring anybody the winner.
In all, 1,763,751 voters were registered; 451,826 were accredited.
There are 413,005 valid votes; 16,544 were rejected. Total votes cast was 429,549.
Of the cancelled votes, 89,997 were from Idemili North Local Government Area; 636 came from two units in Idemili South.
According to INEC figures, APGA came first with 174,710 votes.
PDP scored 94,956 votes.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) came third with 92,300 votes. Labour Party (LP) polled 37,446 votes.
There were 23 candidates.
APGA won in 16 of the 21 local government areas; APC won in two, PDP won in two and LP won one.
The announcement began at about 12.40am.
All the local government collation officers were professors or senior officials of UNICAL.
“The commission will arrange a supplementary election in those areas where election was cancelled,” Epoke said.
He added that all the parties that participated in last Saturday’s election would participate in the supplementary election.
In Aguata, APC scored 5,275 votes, APGA polled 10,180, PDP got 4,275 votes and LP polled 1,129.
There were 24,883 accredited voters in Aguata; 23,452 votes were valid.
In Ayamelum, APC polled 1,827; APGA scored 9,121; PDP got 5,681 and LP (624). Total valid votes was 17,449.
In Anambra East, APC got 1,418; APGA (15,300), PDP (5,579) and LP (511). Total valid votes cast was 23,315.
In Anambra West, APC scored 2,478; APGA (5,128), PDP (3966) and LP (321).
In Anaocha, APC polled 3,174, APGA (14,563), PDP (2,948) and LP (733). A ballot box was snatched at Unit 016, Obiamaka Primary School, it was reported.
In Awka North, APC scored 1,712 votes, APGA (5,385), PDP (3,943) and LP 474.
In Awka South, APC polled 6,596, APGA (9,206), PDP (5,689) and LP (1,648).
The PDP scored the highest number of votes in Dunukofia, followed by APGA (3,670), APC (3,522) and LP (1,236).
APGA polled the highest number of votes in Ekwusigo (6,815), followed by PDP (4,426), APC (2,958) and LP (1,692).
In Idemilli North, APC scored the highest number of votes (7,135), followed by APGA (2,795), PDP (1,462) and LP (643).
The APC also led in Idemili North, where it scored 9,539 votes. APGA polled 2,899; PDP scored 3,786. LP got 1,021.
In Ihiala, APC scored 4,069; APGA (10,067), PDP (5,517) and LP (1,854).
APGA scored 10,753 votes in Njikoka. APC polled 4,585, PDP got 5,630 and LP scored 754.
In Nnewi North, LP led with 18,014 votes, followed by APGA (4,846), APC (3,076) and PDP (1,942).
In Nnewi South, APGA led with 8,145, followed by PDP (3,031), APC (2,676) and LP (2,214).
In Ogbaru, APGA polled 11,716. Others are: APC (7,687), PDP (6,114) and LP (95).
APGA scored 10,842 votes in Onitsha North. Other results are: APC (7,616), PDP (4,947) and LP (776).
In Onitsha South, APGA led with 9,786 votes. Other results are: APC (7,094), PDP (3,520) and LP (716).
APGA led in Orumba North, polling 9,161 votes, followed by PDP (4,567) and APC (3,343).
In Orumba South, APC scored 3,147. Other results are: APGA (6,338), PDP (4,003) and LP (1,265). In Oyi, PDP led with 9,123 votes, followed by APGA (6,994), APC (3,373) and LP (206).