Tension mounts up in Abia, Imo and Taraba states over tomorrow’s governorship re-run elections in the three states, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the Force Headquarters have unveiled plans to conduct a hitch-free exercise.
While INEC has redeployed more Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs and national commissioners to the affected states, the new Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mr. Solomon Arase, has dispatched more police squads to the three states.
In Imo State, for instance, INEC says that it has deployed three new Resident Electoral Commissioners and three national commissioners in the state to support the state REC, Dr. Gabriel Ada in the conduct of the election.
Adah disclosed this to newsmen yesterday in Owerri where he said that the commission had distributed 113,803 Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs to registered voters in the 256 polling units where the re-run would take place.
According to him, the election would be conducted with the strict use of card readers for accreditation in the affected areas while only PVCs will be allowed.
He revealed that there would be total restriction of movement of people in the entire state.
Ada however declined to comment on issues being raised by the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on the inconclusive April 11 governorship election and INEC preparations for tomorrow’s contest.
INEC had declared the April 11 elections in the three states inconclusive due to irregularities observed during the election which led to cancellation of votes in some constituencies.
In Taraba State, the cancelled votes were higher than the margin of winning.
In Abia State, INEC said elections would be conducted in some polling stations in nine local government areas with combined registered voters of 179,224.
The supplementary election would be between Okezie Ikpeazu of the PDP and Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
It will hold in selected polling units in Aba North and South, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo, Umuahia North, Isiala Ngwa North, Obingwa, Ohafia and Ikwuano.
In Imo state, the governorship poll was declared inconclusive, following the cancellation of results in more than 250 polling units in 23 of the 27 local government areas.
The re-run will be between Governor Rochas Okorocha of the APC, and Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP.
Ada said the state constituencies affected in the re-run include Ikeduru, Isiala Mbano, Isu, Oguta, Owerri West, and Oru East.
He explained that INEC ordered the re-run election because of the 79,000 difference between the votes scored by the leading and the second candidates.
“The registered voters in the affected polling units are more than 145,000 and when you consider this figure with the difference, you discover that it was quite substantial number of voters,” he said.
In Taraba State, the contest is between Aisha Jummai Alhassan of the APC and Darius Ishaku of the PDP.
The INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammed Kyari, had declared the governorship election inconclusive, saying the number of cancelled votes totaling 127,125 were more than the 54,812 margin between the PDP candidate who polled 317,198 and the APC candidate with 262,386 votes.
He said the constitution and the Electoral Act states that if the difference between the cancelled votes was higher than the margin between the first and the second person, elections should be declared inconclusive and a run off held.
The runoff election will be held in the whole of Donga Local Government Area and some polling units in Bali, Karim Lamido, Takum, Ussa, Wukari, Yorro and Zing.
Source: Nigerian Pilot