…says PDP thugs frustrated free, fair polls
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in last Saturday’s by-election in Aba North /South Federal Constituency of Abia State, Hon Mascot Uzor Kalu, yesterday expressed misgivings about the outcome of the exercise, but has ruled out the option of going to court to challenge his defeat at the polls.
The election held amidst bomb blasts and widespread violence, but the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC), has since declared Chimaobi Ebisike, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of that election.
Kalu, who expressed disappointment at the level of thuggery, violence and rigging that allegedly occurred during the election, called for a deeper review of the Electoral Act to provide a level ground for all actors and guarantee free, fair and credible elections.
He disclosed that he had congratulated his opponents, not because he won, but because it was gentlemanly to do so and let peace reign.
“All Nigerians should support the electoral law that is being amended as it would assist us in getting our democracy strengthened.
The electoral law, as it is, renders the security agencies with arms weak in the face of violence at the polls and, therefore, needs a revisit. Granted that the armless police should be inside the polling units, the armed should be within fifty meters away from the units.
“Our opponents flooded the city with thugs numbering over 20,000. Traders were threatened with text messages to keep away or lose their lives.
“My campaign officers and our party agents were kidnapped, even the Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Prof Joseph Iloh, was manhandled by thugs at the Aba Polytechnic.
“We campaigned vigorously and Aba people were expectant of improvement from what late Ossy Prestige of blessed memory did.
My only concern is that Aba people lost. They lost a quality representation and chance to have added infrastructures in Aba. “We were winning in more than 400 polling units and they kept using thugs to harass the INEC officials and scare our supporters.
Our supporters ran for their lives. In a city with over 497,000 voting strength, less than 15,000 votes were recorded in the entire election. While the opposition wanted the election at all costs, we chose life over bloodshed and, therefore, won lives and lost the polls. To us, that was a greater victory, “Even though we have enough evidence to reclaim our mandate, we won’t be going to the court. This is to allow the declared winner to concentrate and provide good representation and infrastructure to the good people of Aba,” he said.
Kalu expressed appreciation to members of the APC in Abia State for their efforts before and during the election, but appealed to them to accept the outcome of the elections in good faith.
He commended the INEC and security agents for their services and the risk they took to protect citizens and the ballot.
Kalu also thanked the National Chairman of the Extraordinary Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni, the Chairmen of the APC in Aba North and South Local Government Areas as well as all party faithful for their support in the election