A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia state, Hon. Ojisi I. Ogbaja, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over alleged multiple registration of voters in Etitiama
Nkporo, in Ohafia Local Government, Etitiama Nkporo is the home town of the deputy governor of the state, Chief Ude Okochukwu.
This was even as the former governor of the state, Dr. Uzor Kalu, called for urgent action to address the anomaly.
Addressing newsmen yesterday, Agbaja said he dragged INEC to court because the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state are jittery of losing the election to APC and decided to use the multiple registration of voters in the area and other areas rig out candidates of the APC.
Ogbaja, in the suit number FHC/UM/CS/06/19 instituted at Federal High Court, Umuahia, claimed that there was evidence of multiple registration of voters, including registration of dead persons, registration by non appearance of persons, registration without direct capturing of images and registration of under-aged persons.
He also averred there were registration of non-indigenes and non-residents in Etitiama Nkporo, an attempt the plaintiff claimed was part of the plot PDP is using to shoot up the number of voters in the area.
“In 2015, the number of registered voters in the area was 4000, but after 2018 revalidation exercise by INEC, the number of voters shoot up to 11,000. A close and thorough scrutiny of the register shows over 90 percent of registered voters was images from still pictures with fake names and addresses.
“It is disheartening to find the names of Eze K.K. Ogbu, paramount ruler of Abiriba, Hon. Chief Kingsley Imaga; Abia State Commissioner for Transport ,from Elu Ohafia and Ben Kalu; APC candidate for Bende Federal Constituency, who is a native of Bende Local Government Area and lots of others on the said voters’ register of Etitiama ward.
“The manipulation of the voters register is a strategic pre-condition to rig the general election, in flagrant violation of the Constitution, the Electoral Act, as amended and guidelines for the conduct of the elections in the state.”
Ogabja, while accusing INEC of also planning to rig the election in the affected 15 wards in Etitiama and undermining the validity of the election, asked that the court should nullify or set aside the purported published INEC register of Ndi-Elu Ward, Nkporo in Ohafia LGA.
In an affidavit which the plaintiff deposed to, he described a plot to perpetuate electoral fraud and the deliberate attempt to deny the people of area their franchise, and accused INEC of collaborating with the ruling party in the state to commit the electoral fraud.
In his reaction to the development, APC candidate for Abia North senatorial district, Kalu said he is not perturbed by the attempt to manipulate the voters’ register in Nkporo.
The former governor stressed that he is confident of victory in the February 16 National Assembly poll.
Kalu, however, called on security agencies in the state and INEC to ensure that the concerns raised and anomalies observed by the APC chieftain in Etitiama Nkporo were addressed before the February 16 poll; in order not to disenfranchise the people from effectively participating in the general election.
Those joined in the suit include the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Abia State and the Electoral Officer (INEC), Ohafia Local Government.