AMIDST ELECTORAL FRAUD, I DEFEATED VICTOR NWOKOLO BY LANDSLIDE, Says Utomi Nwanne
By Patrick Gbuchanye
The House of Representatives Candidate of the Labour Party in the just concluded Presidential/ National Assembly elections in Ika Federal Constituency, Chief Dr. Nwanne Utomi has stated that amidst all electoral fraud by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he defeated his opponent, Hon. Victor Nwokolo by a landslide, calling on the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu to call the returning officer and all ad-hoc officers that worked for the commission in the area not to compromise and subvert the will of the people.
Chief Utomi Nwanne who made the call in a press briefing on Monday, February 27, 2023, said his party won the House of Representatives election in the two local governments that make up Ika Federal Constituency.
According to him, “The widespread of my landslide winning in polling units in all most all the wards in Ika North East had the PDP to take the rigging alternative. Firstly, election malpractice began with the omission of LP from our party logo by INEC in the voting ballot paper.
“My happiness is that I have made history to defeat Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his party PDP by a landslide with the overwhelming victory which our party recorded in the February 25 election for the Presidential, Senate, and the House of Representatives which I defeated Victor Nwokolo by equally a landslide.
“It is sad to note that our (LP) party’s victory has led the Electoral Officer (EO) and her team of INEC ad-hoc staff to compromise with the powers that be to rig the election in their favor by obstructing the peace of the election and there were snatching of ballot boxes. To make matters worse, was equally the refusal of the INEC-trained ad-hoc staff to upload the results in the INEC election result portal as recorded in each voting polling unit.
“The height of the electoral fraud took place at INEC office at Owa-Oyibu with PDP voiding thumb-printed ballot papers in favor of LP with additional thumbprints after which LP and other contesting party agents were chased away. Thereafter, the losing party became the winner.
“My aftermath joy is the news of the cancellation of the election held in our Ika North East LGA by the rejection of the result due to over-voting. I want to appeal to our party faithful and all our teaming supporters to be calm, even as I also appeal to Professor Yakubu to use his good office to end the election injustice occasioned by the powers that be in Ika North East and the entire Ika nation as the people are losing faith and confidence on the INEC to conduct a free and fair election.
“This time around, PDP Ika North East LGA has failed in its usual way of taking glory after the election because our winning is massive and I am sure Governor Okowa is yet to come out from the shock. I also want to register my disappointment on the part of the various security outfits for compromising with the PDP to rig the election.
“We were attacked with guns and machetes that the security agents only stood to watch the outcome. No doubt if, the election is to conducted again, LP will defeat PDP over and again massively but in absence of another fresh election, and for peace’s sake, I should be declared the winner for the House of Representatives using the Ika South LGA result because it makes up the Ika Federal constituency which I am to represent”.
Continuing, Chief Utomi posited that after the cancellation of the Ika North East Local government result due to over voting, the returning officer, Prof. Mrs. S.O. Osapila is heeding the instructions of the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party to subvert the will of the people by up turning the victory of the Labour Party to PDP, whom, he said lost all the wards in the Constituency.
He further called on the INEC Chairman, to in keeping with his promise of a free and fair election not to allow Prof. Osapila to drag the name of the commission into the mud by allowing herself to be used as a puppet in the ongoing national election.
He said any attempt to manipulate the result would not be accepted by the people just as he urged the commission to set up a committee that would investigate the results in the area.
While condemning the use of thugs during the election, Chief Utomi lamented that Labour Party agents faced molestation saying that some were attacked by hoodlums who, he reiterated were working for PDP.
Chief Utomi said his joy and that of his teaming supporters will only be complete when INEC finally declares him the winner of the 2023 House of Representative election in the Ika Federal Constituency.
Further responding, the Director General (DG), of the Utomi Nwanne campaign, Pastor Mrs. Mercy Ajeh also disclosed that there were lots of electoral malpractices following the reports she received that ballot boxes were snatched in ward 9, Ute-Okpu, Ward 11, Umunede, Ward 14, Otolokpo, Ward 10, Ward 3 Boji-Boji, including her Ward 4 polling units at Ngala, Primary Boji-Boji, Owa, which she said the violence in her ward was initiated by the PDP youth leader named Emmanuel.
In her words, “I did not give up on Emmanuel and his gang’s threats to kill me for not compromising to rig the election in my ward. But they resorted to snatching ballot boxes because LP was leading, as the count of votes cast.
“There were no results in the enlisted wards faced with the violence of election malpractices. Therefore, I have continue to wonder how INEC come out with the result even in the absence of LP and other party agents who were deprived of the INEC office to witness the result collations and declaration of the winner.
“INEC Electoral Officer (EO), Nkechi Enemor posted to Ika North East LGA failed to compromise with PDP to rig the election. All efforts were made to caution of her evil, but she replies that if I am satisfied that I should prepare to go to court to challenge her over her irregularities.
“In Ward 2, Owa-Alero, LP agents and supporters were chased away for not compromising with PDP to have their way as usual. In all, declaring Victor Nwokolo winner after we were informed that the election in Ika North East LGA was canceled on the ground of over-voting which I know was a result of massive rigging by PDP as a compromise by INEC is like initiating a fresh crisis because LP will not accept it”.
Lending his voice, the Ika North East LGA LP youth leader, Comr. Orionyeka Ebom, the CEO, Wake up disclosed that one Emmanuel Okonti, former Ute-Okpu Youth Chairman and a boy to the Principal Secretary to the Delta State Governor, Hon. Hilary Ibegbulem had equally to threatened to kill him for opposing the wish of PDP to rig election.
Further speaking, the Ika North East LGA Secretary who doubled as a returning Officer of Ward 3, Boji-Boji Owa, Comrade Gospel Chigoziriem decried the massive election malpractices, accusing INEC E.O for compromising with PDP, collated the result in their absence and other party agents, rigged it and declared winner in favor of PDP.
On his part, LP Ika South LGA Returning, Comrade Tuesday Egboh said in Ika South LGA that they stood on their ground for victory for their party thereby resisting all forms of electoral malpractices.