…Advises governorship candidates to have polling agents in all PUs
Elder statesman and founding National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie, has advised all governorship candidates for the November 11 elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi States, not to put their trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), saying it is risky and suicidal to do so.
He said any governorship candidate contesting in the gubernatorial polls in any of the three states that are yet to plan on having polling agents at all polling units during elections is tantamount to failure in the Saturday elections.
Okorie gave the advice in a statement titled “Candid advice to all governorship candidates for the November 11, 2023 elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states,” made available to AN24 on Friday.
He said: “It cannot be over-emphasised that elections are won and lost at the Polling Units. Any candidate who has not planned to have polling agents at all the Polling Units (PUs) during elections has obviously planned to fail ab initio. The PU results entered and signed by the INEC Returning Officer and counter-signed by the designated Political Party Polling Agents on Forms EC8A are superior to whatever INEC may wish to upload on any of its platforms, whatever name called, whether BVAS or IREV. Two instances will suffice to support this assertion.
“In the 2003 governorship election in Anambra State, INEC declared Dr. Chris Ngige of the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner of the election. Mr. Peter Obi’s Director of Campaign, Hon. Dr. Okey Umeano, meticulously assembled and collated results returned by APGA Polling Agents from over 7,000 polling units in Anambra State.
“The aggregate result showed that Mr. Peter Obi clearly won the election. The weight of evidence was overwhelming and the Election Tribunal declared Peter Obi of APGA the winner of the election. Dr. Ngige’s incumbency advantage including having a larger financial war chest and INEC complicity did not help him.
“About 20 years after, in 2023, Senator Natasha Apkoti-Uduaghan recovered her mandate as the elected Senator for the Kogi Central Senatorial District of Kogi State basically on the weight of the evidence of Polling Units results presented at the Election Petition Tribunal. Again, INEC’s conspiracy against her election failed.
“I venture to warn that it is risky and indeed suicidal to trust INEC. The trust deficit of the Commission is at an all-time low.
“Finally, I advise that candidates who have lost the election at the polls and are convinced that they lost having done their homework as prescribed here should show the gallantry of a sportsman and congratulate the winner. Similarly, the winner should demonstrate magnanimity in victory. I join other leaders and organisations that have prayed for peaceful elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States.”