From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has claimed that the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) across the country have partly been responsible for a weak democratic system, particularly at state and local government levels.
With reference to the outcome of last weekend’s local government elections in Delta State, the party called for the scrapping of SIECs and shift of the burden of conducting local government elections to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for transparency and equal opportunity to all parties.
NNPP National Chairman Agbo Major told journalists at a press conference in Abuja, that state governments have continued to hijack activities at SIECs to favour their party and candidates during local government elections.
He recalled that on February 6, 2020, INEC deregistered 74 political parties for not winning at least a councillorship seat. ‘How will any political party not in government win elections at the Local Government level when the ruling party in the State ‘predetermine’ the outcome of the election and further seeks to upturn and manipulate polling units results already announced to perpetually remain in power?,’ it asked.
‘Nigeria’s democracy is in danger by the subversive actions of SIECs. This must stop forthwith for the survival of our constitutional democracy. We will not trade off our Councillorship seat for any reason whatsoever and will resist any attempt to subvert the clear mandate of the people to the party that is strongly determined to enthrone genuine democracy to oppressed, suppressed and longsuffering compatriots.
‘It’s this flagrant assault on the nation’s democracy that led to the calls for the scrapping of SIECs that have all become extensions of various State Government Houses and rubber stamps of the governors, thus making a mockery of the nation’s democratic encounter.’
The NNPP Chairman specifically made reference to what transpired at Umutu Polling Units 6- 9, in Ukwuani Local Government Area, Delta State, during the last weekend’s elections where the party scored the highest votes cast and clearly won the Councillorship seat but was allegedly being denied the victory.
‘The official results from the polling units indicated that in polling unit 6, PDP polled 67 votes and NNPP polled 108 votes. In Unit 7, PDP polled 80 votes and NNPP 103 votes. In Unit 8, PDP polled 53 votes while NNPP polled 69 votes. In Unit 9 PDP polled 64 votes and NNPP had 89 votes. Total votes cast for PDP = 264. Total votes cast for NNPP = 369. NNPP defeated PDP with 105 votes,’ he stated.
‘NNPP evidently won the Councillorship seat and should be declared the winner by the Returning Officer of Delta SIEC as the polling units results had already been declared.
‘The people’s mandate in any election is sacrosanct. The ballot is sacred. Any attempt to thwart the will of the people expressed through the ballot box must be resisted. The mandate of the people is not negotiable and definitely not for the highest bidder no matter how highly placed in government and in the society.’
The party insisted its candidate, Enudu Eugene Chukwuma, won the election and should be declared winner to avoid anarchy as the people are already on the streets defending their votes, demanding the release of the DSIEC Ward 17, Umutu result and protesting against its manipulation by the SIEC in collaboration with security agents and failed politicians.