Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has accused the Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Nnenna Nnannaya-Oti of bias in the recently concluded 2023 governorship election in the state.
The Governor said the returning officer was clearly happy to have favoured the Labour Party (LP) in the March 18 governorship polls at the expense of other parties.
According to him, he had misgivings about the returning officer prior to the commencement of the polls and complained to INEC but was assured of her credibility.
Rant HQ recalls after about 48 hours of initially suspending collation of results, Nnannaya-Oti, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, on March 22, declared LP’s Alex Otti the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Abia.
The LP candidate defeated his opponents including Okey Ahiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Enyinnaya Nwafor of the Young Peoples Party (YPP).
While Otti scored 175,467, Ahiwe polled 88,529 and Nwafor got 28,972. The LP candidate also won 10 of the 17 local government areas in the state, PDP got six while the YPP got one.
Peoples Party (YPP). Otti scored 175,467, Ahiwe polled 88,529 while Nwafor got 28,972. The LP candidate also won 10 of the 17 local government areas in the state, PDP got six while the YPP got one.
Days later, the returning officer alleged she was threatened and pressured to manipulate the result of the Abia governorship poll but she stood her ground.
Asked about the allegations of the returning officer on Thursday during an appearance on Channels TV, Gov Ikpeazu expressed shock at the allegation and described the comment of Nnannaya-Oti as “unfortunate”.
The outgoing governor said, “This is very unfortunate. I have not met that professor and I am shocked because in the first place, if she is a professor, she doesn’t even have the capacity to manipulate results because these are results that emanated from the units, collected at the wards, collected at the local governments and brought for her to just add them up and announce.
“I’ve not met her before; I’ve not spoken to her. If I have met her, if I have spoken to her, let her come to the public and declare so. So, I am shocked that she is making a big noise out of nothing.”
Ikpeazu added that “At some point when I saw the coincidence in name and trace a little bit of her background, I complained to INEC that this lady was not going to be fair but they assured me that they profiled her. I am still shocked.
“What she has betrayed in the aftermath of her service or stewardship in Abia, indicates that fact that she is visibly happy with what she did. Her level of bias in that regard could be placed in favour of a party.
“She has betrayed that she has something at the back of mind before she came.”
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