Text of a Joint Press Briefing Held in Umuahia, on Sunday, 10th March, 2019, by the Candidates of APGA and the APC, Dr. Alex Otti (OFR) and Dr. Uche Sampson Ogah (OON)
Gentlemen of the Press,
We wish to address you on the sham Governorship elections just concluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Abia State.
We would like to inform the general public that INEC implemented its guidelines that it had released for the elections in breach. INEC had told the nation that any result that does not agree with the smart card reader will be cancelled. We would like to inform you that the results collated in the various Local Government Areas which are being announced as we speak, were not only fraudulent but do not represent the true wishes of our people in Abia State and did not also agree with the smart card numbers.
The results were highly tampered with to favour the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), in Abia State. Even when some of us in the opposition had warned that INEC connived with Security Agencies to change results in favour of PDP in various wards, these warnings were ignored.
We were surprised to see that INEC reappointed the Returning Officer (RO) Professor Benjamin Ozurumba, the Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria Nsukka. Recall that it was this same Professor Ozurumba that created the problems we had in 2015 where he reversed himself by accepting results he had earlier on cancelled, when he came under pressure and influence of then ruling PDP government in the State and at the Federal level.
In the interest of fairness, we would have expected that INEC would not reappoint this Prof. Ozurumba who sold the mandate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2015. We would have expected that INEC would have appointed another Professor or another Vice Chancellor from any other university in the country. But the fact that this same Prof. Ozurumba was reappointed gives us concern and unfortunately, we only got to know that he was reappointed by the time he sat to collate the results a few hours ago.
We also had expected INEC to have implemented its guidelines that it published publicly and queried every Card Reader before accepting the results. In fact, INEC deceived us into believing that the results that were coming from the units that did not agree with the card readers would be assigned a zero value.
We therefore reject in its totality the results of 2019 Governorship Election being announced at the moment by INEC and demand its total cancellation in the entire state. We are peace-loving people and we do not expect anybody to take our peace-loving nature for granted. We have asked our people to be calm and they have remained calm, but do not expect that somebody would come here and begin to tamper with the wishes of the people.
We believe that we have been patient enough and we are giving INEC the next 24 hours to cancel this sham election in its totality and we will be more than willing whenever INEC decides to conduct free fair and transparent election in Abia State, we will be more than willing to present ourselves for election.
DR. ALEX OTTI (OFR), APGA
DR. UCHE SAMPSON OGAH (OON), APC