The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it will conduct fresh presidential and national assembly elections on Monday in various polling units in seven Local Government Areas of Abia.
INEC Administration Secretary in charge of Abia State, Mr Clement Oha who disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Umuahia on Sunday, gave the time for the fresh poll as 8:00 am
He identified the affected LGAs as: Obingwa, Osisioma, Aba North, Aba South, Umuahia North, Ohafia, and Arochukwu.
The Administration Secretary said that the affected polling units in the affected LGAs had been communicated.
He explained that the reported skirmishes in the affected polling units during Saturday’s election necessitated the fresh poll.
” We had various degrees of discrepancies with respect to the procedures that were violent to some extent.
“The Commission in their wisdom felt that the credibility of the election should not be compromised, and that there should be no winner by default. So, election must take place in the affected polling units tomorrow (Monday)”.
When asked to identify the number of polling units affected, the Administration Secretary, said it was still being processed.
On the whereabouts of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in charge of the state, Professor Ike Uzochukwu, the Administration Secretary, said he must have been tired and needed to rest.
” We were in a meeting here up till 2:00 am when I left. I learnt he left by 5:00 am. Certainly, he is a human being, and maybe is tired”.
When prodded further to disclose the exact number of polling units involved in the fresh election so that voters in the affected areas could be properly guided, Oha said such information resided with the REC.
Then he was asked if the REC did not authorize the press briefing, otherwise, he should have equally made available the necessary information, but he said he scouted the information from Electoral Officers.
” We are still gathering the information because it was going to the REC straight. But now that we can’t see him, we are trying to calibrate information from the EOs.
” I’m the Administration Secretary. The REC deals with operational issues. I have not told you I got the consent of the REC to speak. “
When asked if he spoke for the REC he said:” I’m only speaking as the Administrative Secretary of INEC, Abia State in the absence of REC. If the is around I will not be granting press interview”.
Asked what happens assuming the REC counters his position since he did not get his consent, he said:” I don’t think he will counter because it’s the commission’s decision”.
The confusion over the whereabouts of the REC was becoming worrisome.
One of the presidential collation officers who returned from Isuikwuato with the result threatened to go to his house with the result as the REC was nowhere to be seen.
He waited to a point of embarrassment at the presidential election collation centre at the INEC headquarters but no activity was going on at the centre following the disappearance of the REC.