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Ebonyi South bye-election: Opposition parties accuse APC of vote buying, intimidation

‘The conduct was very fraudulent, there were lots of vote-buying and intimidation from the Army including INEC officials ordering people to go home after accreditation which means they wanted to thumbprint the ballot papers’

By Nweze Anaga,

Abakaliki

 The opposition political parties in Ebonyi State have accused the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC) of vote buying, intimidation of their party agents in the Ebonyi South senatorial bye-election held at the weekend.

The Senatorial candidates of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. Silas Onu and Chief Ifeanyi Eleji, respectively, made the accusation when journalists visited their polling units in Ohaozara and Afikpo local government areas of the state.

Onu said, “It is probably buy [bye] and not an election. That is what we are seeing, especially in Ohaozara Local Government Area. There was no election.

“The former governor Dave Umahi vowed he that must win. When you hear somebody say he must win; he is using thugs, compelling people to vote.

“They are holding people’s hands to thumbprint. When you vote for PDP, they will thumbprint for another party to invalidate it.

“Apart from that, they have been snatching ballot boxes. I do not know what they want to do with it but because the election petition tribunal or the Supreme Court said BVAS is of no use; they are now carrying ballot boxes, going somewhere to thumbprint, not caring what accreditation figure in BVAS will say. Of course, they will get the result sheet, write the accreditation figure, write their result and move on.”

Onu further added: “This is not healthy for democracy. I am satisfied that because of me, the whole APC in Ebonyi South are not sleeping. It says something about the acceptance that I have here. So, I am satisfied to have caused them sleepless nights. I am satisfied to have made them spend so much money to steal the election.

“If I was not in the race, they would have gone to sleep and written their result. The fact that they tried to stop me through a procured court judgement and that did not stop me is a testament to their desperation in this election.

“So, we will review everything. We have one or two areas we already have them by the box and we will see if it happens after the elections. I am not someone who just jumped into an election, I know these things will happen and I know where I will come from to stop them. “They should go ahead.”

Also read: Ani wins Ebonyi South Senatorial bye-election

Meanwhile, the APGA candidate said, “The conduct wss very fraudulent; there were lots of vote buying and intimidation from the Army including INEC officials ordering people to go home after accreditation which means they wanted to thumbprint the ballot papers. I have called the EO he didn’t pick up and I called the REC she promised to call back since three hours ago yet she has not received a harsh reply.

“There is no hope for this country unless this trend is curtailed. This is an off-season election and there will be data effectiveness in managing the process but is completely flawed. It doesn’t make sense if people in authority can suppress their community.”

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