The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has annulled results in eight polling units in the House of Representative election held in Oguta, Imo State, last Saturday, June, 29, thereby declaring the election inconclusive.
In a statement signed by Kayode Idowu Roberts, Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC said the election witnessed incidents of violence and unruly conduct by partisans, necessitating the cancellation of the election in eight (8) polling units.
“This cancellation made the election inconclusive”, he said, adding that field reports showed that even though security agents mobilised appreciably for the exercise, there were cases of violence as well as ballots and result sheets snatching by thugs, as a result of which the election was cancelled in the following polling units: PU 001 in Ward 05 (Ndeloukwu/Umuowerre) – with 768 registered vote; PU 007 in Ward 03 (Izombe) with 939 registered voters; PU 009 in Ward 09 (Oru) with 708 registered voters; PU 010 (Ward 09) with 657 registered voters; PU 011 (Ward 09) with 407 registered voters; PU 012 (Ward 09) with 408 registered voters; PU 013 (Ward 09) with 667 registered voters and PU 003 in Ward 02 (Egwe/Egbuoma) with 212 registered voters.
“The total population of registered voters in the polling units affected was over 4,000; whereas the difference between the leading candidate and the next in the collated results was 2,011 votes”, he said adding that the procedure is that where the number of registered voters involved in a cancelled election exceeds the difference in the votes of the two leading candidates in collated results, the election will be declared inconclusive.
“It bears pointing out that the present outcome of Oguta constituency election is similar to what happened with the 2011 governorship election in Imo State, which was eventually resolved”, INEC said, adding that the ommission finds it worrisome that politicians and hooligans brazenly flouted the restriction order on movement during the election.
“Reports showed that officials of the Imo State Government and some members of the National Assembly across party lines moved around freely despite the restriction order – some of them with security escorts! Worse, some of these politicians aren’t even from Oguta constituency where the election held”, he added.
INEC said it is disappointment that the culture of thuggery, intolerance and unruly conduct continues to bedevil the electoral process in this country.
“The Commission is already making necessary arrangements to conduct election in the outstanding polling units. However, it needs reassurance that there will be adequate security to insulate the process against disruption or interference by thugs, officials and partisans. The Commission hereby calls on the Police to do everything possible to guarantee a secure environment in the areas where the election was cancelled, so that the process can be brought to an early conclusion”, INEC said.