By Jonathan Ugbal and Ushang Ewa
The candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the August 11, 2018 house of assembly bye-election in Obudu, Mr. Bendebel Ishamali has rejected the results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Mr. Ishamali stated this in a statement signed by him and issued in Obudu where he said ballot box snatching and violence, intimidation as well as harassment of APC members.
The statement read: “I wish to state categorically that, the August 11 State House of Assembly election in Obudu was a charade and a complete failure of all electoral practices even by Nigerian standards. The election was characterized by
“Snatching of ballot boxes by PDP thugs through the instrumentality of men of F-SARS; in Urban Ward 1, Ipong Ward, Alege Ubang ward, Ukpe ward and parts of Begiading ward, which they used to thumbprint freely.
“Massive arrest of APC members and some are still in detention till now by men of F-SARS, with trumped up charges.
“Beating and shooting of some our supporters. One Miss Eunice Igbaji who was shot at the resident of Barrister Venatius Ikem has just been discharged from Obudu, Clinic.
“Harassment, intimidation and disruption of voting in APC strongholds by PDP thugs through the instrumentality of men of F-SARS, especially at Urban I, The APC candidates ward.
“All complains to the REC (Resident Electoral Commissioner) and the police on this open misconduct by the men of F-SARS, INEC and PDP thugs fell on deaf ears; Instead the returning officers proceeded to cancel elections in 28 units across the 10 wards where APC won, thereby allotting the elections to PDP.
“After due consultations with party leaders and our teeming supporters, with detailed assessment of the entire exercise that was a total flop, I hereby reject the results and will take all necessary and legitimate steps to address this institutional rigging by a combination of the Cross River State Police Command and the active connivance of INEC before, during and after the voting proper.
“I use this opportunity to salute our gallant party members in APC who were able to withstand these daunting circumstances and post an incredible result that remains an embarrassment to the PDP in Cross River State. Be assured that I will not let you down until Justice is done.”
Mr. Ishamali had polled 4,345 votes at the bye-elections, which was 8,367 less than the 12,712 polled by the PDP’s candidate, Mrs. Abbey Ukpukpen.
CrossRiverWatch had reported that the elections were marred by violence and the elections were cancelled in about 9 polling units.
Mrs. Ukpukpen who had been absent all throughout the electoral processes had earlier today, collected the certificate of return which means she can now be sworn-in.
However, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Frankland Briyai had in his remarks said the elections were peaceful and enjoined other candidates to work with Mrs. Ukpukpen.
“Let me start by appreciating the almighty God for the grace, wisdom and strength he granted us to conduct a credible, free, fair and violent free bye-election,” Mr. Briyai said.
He later added that: “For other contestants of the Obudu constituency bye-election, I enjoin you to display the spirit of sportsmanship by working together for the upliftment of the land and people of Obudu. Once again, thank you all for your support towards the peaceful conduct of the bye-election.”
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