Nigerians of voting age who had their Permanent Voter’s Card went out to vote candidates of their choice on Saturday 23rd February, 2019. The elections were meant to produce the President, Senators and Members of House of Representatives. Like in each of the one hundred and nine senatorial districts in the country, the electorate in Abia-North Senatorial District were fully sensitized and mobilized for the exercise.
Abia-North has the uncommon privilege of having one of the most quintessential Senators in Nigeria. He is Senator Mao Arukwe Ohuabunwa.
Apart from his physical mien which is naturally captivating, Mao is a flawless orator, in any ramification and by any measurable standard. He is a legislator that each time he speaks, those he represents; including those who may not have voted for him, would have every cause to be proud of having a brilliant and effective representative.
Senator Ohuabunwa; an astute legislator who enjoys experience of membership of both House of Representatives and the Senate, has obviously distinguished himself in the business of legislation. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Senator Ohuabunwa has, apart from initiating numerous motions and bills, verifiable evidence of having two Bills originated by him signed into Law by the President.
In terms of legislation in the ninth Senate, Senator Ohuabunwa ranks next to none. He has severally and continuously proved his legislative acumen. If there is any constituent in Abia-North that is not proud of having the calibre of Senator Mao Ohuabunwa as his representative, that person must be a compound ignoramus or merely a sadist.
Aside legislative brilliance and astuteness, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa has attracted many substantial dividends of democracy to his highly cherished people of Abia-North.
The above were the psychological frame of mind and overall mental concept of the electorate in Abia-North when they trooped out on the said Saturday 23rd February, 2019 to cast their votes. There was no doubt, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa was their choice.
Most recklessly and unacceptably, the Independent National Electoral Commission; INEC, that should have conducted a free, fair and verifiable comprehensive election in Abia-North, for no justifiable cause, opted for a course of action that could only have rendered it suspect.
The February 2019 Senatorial election in Abia-North had three major candidates. While Senator Mao Ohuabunwa was that of Peoples Democratic Party, Chiefs Orji Uzor Kalu and David Ogba Onuoha were of All Progressives Congress and All Progressives Grand Alliance, respectively.
Abia-North has more than seventy-five registered voters. Granted that the electoral body decided to be economical with the figure of registered voters in the district, INEC, after all the cancellations it unlawfully did, acknowledged in its Form EC 40 C(2) that the margin of lead between the alleged winner of the election; Chief Orji Uzor Kalu of APC and the second contestant, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of PDP is 10,400 while equally acknowledging a total cancellation of 38,526 registered voters in the said election.
Since the margin of lead of 10,400 is, by far, less than the number of canceled registered voters in the district, the surest just decision the electoral umpire should, by law, have taken was to declare the election inconclusive.
By INEC’s electoral guideline, any election in which the number of canceled votes is above the lead margin, that election shall be declared inconclusive. The guideline was applied in many electoral contest in the 2019 general election, including those of Senator Enyi Abaribe of PDP and Sir Chris Nkwonta of APGA in Abia-South Senatorial District and Hon Ossy Prestige of APGA and Hon Uzor Azubuike of PDP in Aba-South/North Federal Constituency.
For INEC to have deviated from this established rule in the case of Abia-North, has been a source of painful concern to PDP in Abia State.
Being a Political Party of seasoned, tested and proven democrats, PDP in Abia State is known to have a lot of respect for the Electoral Body. That this injustice was perpetrated against Senator Ohuabunwa and PDP has not made the Party to lose the respect it has always had for the electoral umpire, as the Party knows that a big organization like INEC can not be said not to have some rotten eggs amongst its large number of personnel.
As a Party that has a track record of respect for the rule of law, PDP is optimistic that the National Assembly Election Tribunal handling the petition of the Party and her Candidate; Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, will consider the petition dispassionately and in accordance with law and justice and, therefore, give a ruling that will enthrone justice to the teaming members of PDP in the district who were unlawfully and unacceptably disenfranchised in Abia-North in the said election.
Abia State PDP.
By Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP,
Okwubunka of Asa,
State Pub Secretary,
PDP, Abia State.
16th May, 2019