By Alex Enebeli
Enugu, March 24, 2023
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate in Enugu, Mr. Frank Nweke says he will not congratulate Enugu State governor-elect, Dr Peter Mbah because the election was not free and fair.
Nweke, who described the processes that produced Mbah as an “assault” to the Nigerian democracy said the election was far from fair and certainly, not transparent.
The APGA candidate disclosed this during a Press Conference he organised on Friday in Enugu.
He alleged that the election was characterized by violence, thuggery, intimidation, use of divisive sentiments, and the weaponization of poverty against the people.
Nweke further alleged that PDP deployed those vices in the course of the campaign, adding that the elections reflected the desperation of the party to hold on to power against the will of the people.
“The elections have come and gone, and with it a multitude of infringements on our democratic process, an assault on our desires and our hope for our great state.
“I often said during my campaign that I would offer my congratulations and best wishes to whoever emerged in a fair and transparent manner.
“But reports from various polling units across the state, thugs, party members, hired criminals and some compromised members of the security agencies were used to intimidate voters,” Nweke said.
According to him, the APGA House of Assembly candidate for Udenu Constituency was attacked and almost killed on the morning of the election, while five polling units within his jurisdiction were cordoned off by police and military officers.
“In Nsukka, voters recorded and reported gunshots at polling units allegedly instigated by a political party.
“The most vulnerable and impoverished became prey to vote buying by some political parties with as little as N500 or packets of noodles in some places.
“At Udenu, parties competed for the votes of our people with N2,000, a plate of Jollof rice, Okpa, and a bottle of soda. I feel ashamed that this is what our people are worth to some who seek to lead them,” he said.
He added that he was even more embarrassed by the so-called enlightened citizens who had lost sight of the implications of these actions.
The APGA candidate also alleged that the PDP also secured the assistance of the INEC agents to rig the election, offering cash and issuing threats as the situation demanded.
“Only a few polling unit agents uploaded their results directly on IREV as provided by INEC, and fake result sheets were used to rewrite and manipulate the results of vote counts at the polling units.
“Some of these result sheets are also completely blurred on the portal.
“In fact, the elections of March 18, in Enugu State were a complete sham and were not fair,” he added.
Nweke added that as individuals and collectively, they must keep pursuing their rights to choose leaders, good governance, and experience the dividends of democracy, stressing that he had no problem losing an election to the will of the people.
“But when this will has been subverted, we have no choice but to review the entire process and the outcome and we will explore and exhaust every action required to ensure the legitimacy of the next government in Enugu State,” Nweke said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nweke came third with 17,983 votes in the March 18, Governorship election.