Akpan Etukudoh Asare
Two opposition parties in Cross River State, Youth Democratic Party (YDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have rejected the results of the just concluded Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
The leaderships of both parties in the state made the rejection separately as soon as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the results early Monday morning of 11 March 2019.
Incumbent governor of Cross River State and candidate of the Peopls Democratic Party (PDP), Professor Ben Ayade was declared the winner of the March 9 governorship election by INEC.
Ayade won in all the 18 Local Government Areas of the state with a winning margin of 250,323 votes.
He polled 381,484 votes to defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC) that polled 131,161.
Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr. Eyo Ekpo polled 4, 818 votes.
Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Warri, Delta State, Professor Akii Ibhadode had confirmed Ayade as the winner.
PDP also swept all of the 25 seats of the state House of Assembly.
Reacting, governorship candidate of YDP, in the State, Mr. Emmanuel Undie said that the exercise was fraught with widespread irregularities which make the outcome unacceptable.
Mr. Undie who spoke to journalists in Calabar stated that the level of irregularities and rigging were such that the people’s will was completely thwarted because INEC officials colluded with politicians to write fake results.
He said he and his agents have evidence of ballot papers being thumb printed in private homes which was a way of wasting the people’s time and energy by asking them to show up in the polling units knowing that the process would be manipulated and skewed in favour of one party.
“The security agencies performed a yeoman’s job by intimidating and stopping people from going out to vote. For instance, in Ikom who was on his way to the polling unit was stopped by soldiers from accessing the place and because of that we had not agent in that unit”.
He said the level of rigging shows that INEC is incapable of conducting a free and free election because apart from staff of the commission colluding with politicians to thumb print ballots, they also manipulated technology to favour the ruling party in the state.
“We saw INEC staff cutting ballot papers and handing over to politicians to thumbprint and they did it without any sense of responsibility or common sense while some used the card readers to send fake figures to head office”.
Similarly, in a statement by its acting state chairman, Sir John Ochala, the APC described the result as daylight robbery and rape on democracy, saying they have dissociated themselves from it.
“We are all witnesses to the daylight robbery of our collective will of the people and mandate,
The party accused the state government and the INEC saying they connived with security operatives to rig the election in favour of the governor.
They alleged that the state ruling party had orchestrated the killing of its members during and before the just concluded elections.
“Despite the very responsible manner in which our teaming party faithful and supporters went about their civic responsibility, the PDP in desperation to perpetuate their evil agenda killed several of our members who refused to compromise and resisted the vote stuffing carried out by the PDP.
“We call on all APC members and well wishers to remain calm and go about their lawful duties without let or hindrance while the party leadership explore all avenues within legal limits to correct this aberration.”