The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of partiality in the collation of governorship election results in the state.
PDP also demanded the stoppage of audit of the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines used in Obingwa, claiming that INEC is carrying out audit without involving agents of the ruling party.
PDP in a statement by its acting Publicity Secretary, Abraham Amah, cautioned INEC against the legal implications of auditing the BVAS without court order.
The statement read in part: “Abia PDP is constrained to state in very unequivocal terms that the impartiality of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the ongoing coalition of the 2023 Abia governorship election results is very questionable because of recent decisions it has taken to favour a particular party.
“In the process of the collation of results, the Labour Party prayed the INEC to audit the BIVAS accreditation of Obingwa Local Government Area, which INEC graciously granted and has already started the audit exercise but unfortunately in the absence of PDP agents. The PDP agents have been shut out of the process while Labour Party agents are involved.
“But to the chagrin of the PDP, its request for INEC to subject the results of six local government areas of Aba North, Aba South, Umuahia North, Umuahia South, Osisioma and Arochukwu has been blatantly rejected by INEC which is a clear case of partiality on the part of INEC in favour of the Labour Party.
“We are compelled to ask INEC to stop forthwith the BIVAS audit for Obingwa because the audit exercise is going on without the PDP agents while the agents of Labour Party have been granted access. This is nothing but daylight robbery as the process is eminently compromised to favor a particular candidate.
“We are calling on INEC to stop the BIVAS audit of Obingwa and admit PDP agents into the exercise and also give the PDP time to fly in its IT experts from the UK since the audit is one that requires the technical competence of IT experts which is not readily available here.
“In an electoral case of this nature, the best an impartial umpire should do and which are calling on INEC to do immediately is to announce the results as they are and subject them to the judiciary for final adjudication.
“We also warn INEC to be mindful of the legal implications of tampering with the BIVAS machines without a judicial clearance as this is clearly against the Electoral Act.
“As an umpire, INEC should be neutral and maintain its independence as an institution that was created to midwife and nurture the growth of Nigeria’s democracy. Its recent behaviour is destructive to our democracy and will only serve to reverse the gains made in the past 24 years.
“The Abia PDP warns that any attempt to subvert the popular will of the people by glaringly compromising the electoral process in favour of a particular candidate will not be accepted by the good people of Abia State.
“We call on the good people of Abia State to remain calm and peaceful because we know that justice will prevail at the end.”
The Labour Party had alleged that PDP masterminded violence and rigging in Obingwa LGA. INEC said it’s staff was held hostage in the council.