Saturday, 25 January 2020

All you need to know about Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency rerun elections [Result Update]

Ukorebi Esien 25th January, 2020 

Today 25th January will see to a rerun election in Ekureku 1&2 as Rt. Hon John Gaul Lebo, immediate past Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly and Dr. Alex Egbona, one time Chief of Staff to Governor Liyel Imoke battle for the soul of Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency. 

There have been a lot analysis as to who will eventually emerge winner of the elections, and tension has been very high. Which led to the IG of the Nigerian Police Force directing the Commissioner of Police to ensure adequate security is in place. 

It all started immediately after the February 2019 elections where INEC announced Chief Dr. Alex Egbona winner of the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency elections. Egbona polled a total of twenty-nine thousand, four hundred and thirty-two (29,432), while Speaker Gaul only garnered twenty-six thousand, nine hundred and seven-one (26,971) votes out of a total of 58,889 votes cast in the keenly contested elections as announced by the INEC returning officer, Prof. Chike Okpala. 

After the elections against all odds and insinuations, chief Alex Egbona received his certificate of returns from INEC and was later sworn in as a member of the National Assembly representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the Green chambers. 

On the other hand Speaker Gaul who wasn't satisfied with the outcome of the elections, alleged that Alex couldn't had amassed up to 11,000 votes from Ekureku 1&2 who had a total of about 12 registered voters and about 10,000 eligible voters who have collected PVCs. He took the matter to the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar and judgment was given in his favour. 

The Tribunal with Petition No: EPT/CAL/HR/11/2019, was between Hon. John Gaul Lebo of the PDP versus Hon. Alex Egbonna of the APC and one other. The tribunal upheld Gaul's petition and prayers.

"The allegation of none use of smart card readers in Ekureku 1&2 and mass swapping of votes, unlawful cancelation of votes, omitting of votes and addition of votes all in favour of Alex Egbona as alleged by John Gaul was not in anyway argued by Alex Egbona.

"All the votes gathered by Alex Egbonna are all lawful votes but of no consequence as they did not follow duly laid down Electoral processes.

"Since there were evident discrepancies between what was found in the card readers and what was on the result sheets.

"Therefore, when all deductions are made, it is very clear that John Gaul is the winner of the election."

With the deductions of all votes gotten by both candidates in Ekureku 1&2 after the cancellation of the elections in Ekureku 1&2 Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo was now leading Dr. Alex Egbona with 7971 votes. The tribunal ordered INEC to immediately withdraw the certificate of returns given to Alex and issue a fresh certificate of returns to Gaul. 

As expected, Alex appealed the case and the appellant Court still upheld part of the judgement of the tribunal. It upheld that indeed there were elections manipulation in Ekureku 1&2 and the votes gotten by Alex didn't correspond with the card readers including other sundry inconsistencies. But in a twist of fate, instead of asking INEC to declare Gaul the winner of February 23rd National Assembly election for Abi /Yakurr Federal Constituency, the Judges called for a rerun elections in Ekureku 1&2 stating that the margin by which Gaul leads Egbona could easily be upturn by the number of cancelled votes in Ekureku 1&2 as such both candidates should slog it out in Ekureku 1&2 to determine the winner of the election. 

Today is that D-day and there's anxiety in the air, who will finally be announced? Can Egbona upturn the result seeing that he is 7971 votes behind? 

All Gaul needs out of the 11,000 votes of Ekureku is just anything above 2000 votes to win the elections. 

On the other hand, Egbona needs nothing less that 10, 000 votes from the 11,000 Ekureku votes to retain his seat. 

Keep an eye clued to this page, we shall be bringing you updates of the Election as it progresses. 


Updated 12:00 pm 

Massive turnout, alleged rigging, intimidation, snatching of ballot box/papers characterise Abi/Yakurr rerun

According to live reports from Ekureku, there seems to be large number of persons turning out to cast their votes in the ongoing rerun elections in Ekureku 1&2. 

Aside the unexpected massive crowd in all most every polling units, there are also reports of massive 
rigging by APC agents, non use of card reader machines by the INEC officials, snatching of ballot boxes and papers , voters intimidation and violence against PDP supporters.

For instance in Ngarabe polling Unit 1 and 6, our reporters said PDP agents were molested, harassed and hijacked out of the Election venue to an unknown place. APC agents on ground informed that the security men and INEC staff seems to have been compromised as they are either silence or part of the whole manipulations depending on the case.