By Eberekpe Ogho
I thought I was not going to be writing anything about the matter, but here I am doing so; because I felt sleeping dog should be allowed its peace. But how peaceful can the sleeping dog be when it sleeps with one eye open knowing that there is danger ahead?
The Abia North election re-run was decided on these numbers: 26, 009 for Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and 25, 814 for Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who ran on the platform of the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA). The difference that would have returned Ohuabunwa to the Senate was 195 votes. It is pertinent to note this: The returning officer appointed by INEC, Dr. Ojike Nwankwo, had instigated the drama that would make any right-thinking person to ask the question if the result should be accepted. Before declaring that the PDP candidate had won the election, he had announced that the poll was inconclusive, after an all-night collation of the poll result, only for him to make a U-turn to declare the PDP candidate as the winner. Any reasonable thinker would agree that there could never be conclusion in inconclusiveness. So, what happened between the morning when the poll was declared inconclusive and afternoon when the returning officer announced a winner? It is also important to look at what the INEC Education and Publicity Officer, Mr. Edwin Enabor, said. His words: “The Returning Officer, Dr. Ojike Nwankwo, had erroneously declared the re-run election inconclusive. This was wrong because in a re-run election, a winner must emerge by simple majority.”
It is funny that some people are treating the controversy over the Abia North rerun result as if it’s a non-issue. Could you imagine the irritating statement by a group, which calls itself, Abia Transparency Network? The leader of the group, one Mazi Kanu Ikeogu, had said that Kalu should accept the result of the re-run election in good faith. According to him, “It is a well-known fact that Senator Mao Ohuabunwa won the election in a transparent manner. The electoral verdict delivered on March 5, 2016 is a clarion call on Orji Kalu to leave Abia politics alone.”
The statement by Ikeogu is laughable. Why would Kalu accept defeat when he was cheated? If an election has been declared inconclusive, the natural thing to do is to take measures to conclude it. Such measures include the conduct of supplementary election in wards where the rerun poll was cancelled. What Kalu needs do is to seek redress in court. Doing so is an effort to seek justice, not desperation to become a senator.
Kalu should go for it, fight for it until justice is done.
- Ogho wrote in from Lagos.