The announcement of results for Saturday’s governorship election in Abia State was stalemated midway after the reversal of the cancellation of results from three local governments by the Returning Officer, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba.
The RO had earlier announced the cancellation of results from Osisioma, Obingwa and Isialangwa North Local Government Areas citing “incontrovertible evidence of violence’’ and reports from international observers.
The returning officer was reported to have reversed the decision after Gov. Theodore Orji-led chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to consult with the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Prof. Selina Oko and Ozumba.
According to Ozumba, the cancellation was reversed because of fresh information concerning the conduct of the election in the three council areas, adding that polling centres with issues would be isolated and decisions taken on them later.
The agent of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Ahamdi Nweke, however questioned the reason behind the decision by the returning officer to reverse his earlier pronouncement.
According to Nweke, elections did not take place in Osisioma, adding that the party would not accept any result from the area. He also tendered a hand-written note allegedly signed by the Commissioner of Police, Mr Habila Joshak, indicating that electoral materials recovered from the bush in Osisioma were in the police custody.
The police boss, Joshak, who was present at the collation centre, did not dispute Nweke’s submission.
Proceedings were later halted after an international observer, Ms Shirle Wilson, from Noble Leadership Initiative, United Kingdom, testified at the centre that “election did not take place in Osisioma’’.
According to her, election in the area was marred by violence and snatching of ballot boxes and other electoral materials by hoodlums.
The testimony increased tension at the centre, making the Returning Officer to adjourn further announcement of results.
The disputed result from Osisioma, announced earlier, showed that PDP scored 42,442, while APGA polled 1017.
Meanwhile, results from 10 local government areas have been announced.