On Saturday 18 December 2020, elections were scheduled to elect local government chairpersons and counsellors across the 17 local governments in Abia state. The Youth Party was on the ballot with three credible candidates in Bende local government to compete for counsellorship seats in item ward A, D and Ajayi Ward A.
Unfortunately, the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission sabotaged the entire process. Election materials did not arrive until very late in the evening in most of the local governments. And when it did, the materials were either grossly inadequate or above the registered voters in the affected polling unit. Sadly, materials never arrived Bende local government where our candidates were supposed to compete.
Worth mentioning, also, was the dubious process of accreditation. None of our party agents witnessed the accreditation of voters using the official voters’ register. It was a chaotic exercise, fraught with irregularities and rigged in favour of the Peoples’ Democratic Party.
Not to mention the conflicting role played by men of the Nigeria Police some of whom were caught on tape intimidating innocent voters.
These anomalous situations deterred thousands of eligible voters from exercising their democratic right. The glaring incompetence of ABSIEC was aptly captured in a statement issued by Hon Benjamin Kalu, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs. He said “No polling unit in Bende local government area opened for accreditation. There were no voters register anywhere in the polling units. It wasn’t just that the election was rigged. In this case, there was no election.”
The Youth Party, therefore, demands that a fresh election is held. This time, however, the process must be devoid of manipulation and irregularities. The ABSIEC should seize the opportunity that a fresh election provides to not only redeem its image but to restore the confidence of the people in the electioneering process. If the Abia state government refuses to cancel this election, we will have no other option than to seek redress in court.