Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Heavy protest has rocked the ongoing conduct of the re-run election holding in Enugu South Urban State constituency by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Members of the Labour Party, who converged at the Robinson Primary School, Uwani and Uwani Secondary School venues of the election, raised an alarm and alleged that the election umpire failed to present original result sheets for the election.
However, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who held a counter protest, said that they have seen the result sheets, insisting that the election must hold as planned.
The bye-election is holding in only eight polling units at the Robinson Primary School, Uwani and Uwani Secondary School, situated on the same street.
As at 12 noon on Saturday, the election was yet to commence despite huge presence of both military, police and DSS operatives due to disagreement on the availability of result sheet.
The state’s INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Chukwuemeka Chukwu, however, arrived at the venue of the election at about 11:45a.m. pleading with the already agitated voters to allow for the conduct of the election, a plea which was roundly rejected.
The REC who had earlier spoken to reporters in a phone conversation around 10a.m. said he has not been briefed on why the election was yet to commence.
Reacting to the impasse, the Senator representing Enugu East Senatorial district, Sen. Kelvin Chukwu, and the member representing Enugu North/South Federal Constituency, Chimaobi Atu, accused INEC officials of compromise.
Chukwu said: “I was reliably informed that this election has been highly compromised. I got to this place, I met with the Electoral Officer and told him to do the simplest thing by showing all the candidates the original result sheets which he has not produced as am talking to you.
“That is what is causing the tension. I am worried because since INEC is yet to show the result sheets, the election may not hold. I haven spoken to the Assistant Commissioner of Police. I have spoken to an army officer in charge.
“I have told them what is required. I told the INEC man to show the people the result sheet, very simple. The demand is that the original result sheet be shown to them. If that is not done, there will be no election.”
On his part, Rep. Chimaobi Atu, said that his constituents were frustrated but were ready to defend the electoral process.
Atu said: “Getting to this place, there is no result sheet. The result sheet should be shown to them before anything. And INEC is not doing what they should do.
“So the people are demanding that the result should be shown to them so that their will be free and fair election. That is what the masses are standing for.”
However, the candidate of PDP in the re-run, Chief Sam Ngene, accused members of the Labour Party, including National Assembly members, Kelvin Chukwu and Sam Atu, of disrupting the electoral process.
Ngene said: “The election was about getting started until Sen. Chukwu and his supporters came here to disrupt it.
“Yesterday night, all the agent were shown the result sheets, but coming this morning, these people came here and started demanding for the result sheets.
“They should allow INEC set up their boots before demanding for result sheets. How can you be demanding for result sheets when they are yet to set up.
“They are jumping the gun. I am also calling on the security agencies to do the needful by moving Sen. Chukwu out of this place. He is not supposed to be here.”