Enugu Guber: ‘We’re running out of patience,’ PDP supporters urge INEC to declare Mbah winner

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Protesting supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Enugu State, Peter Mbah, have vowed to continue occupying the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state until he is declared winner of last Saturday’s election in the state.

The protesters, who mounted several canopies with food and drinks at the WAEC Junction just before the state headquarters of INEC, disagreed with the commission on its decision to suspend the announcement of the final results and declaration of Mbah as the winner of the governorship contest.

They also accused the INEC of adopting different rule from the one it used during the national collation of presidential election results, where it ignored complaints from the agents of opposition parties.

Spokesman of the protesters and former member of House of Representatives, USA Igwesi, who spoke to newsmen, accused INEC of usurping the duties of the Election Petition Tribunals and warned that Enugu State was running out of patience as a result of the continuous withholding of the governorship election results.

He said, “We don’t need any soothsayer to tell us that Peter Mbah won the election. We’re surprised that INEC is still holding this result undeclared.

“We want to inform them that Enugu State is running out of patience. We are running out of patience. We are asking them in the interest of peace of Enugu State to declare the result and announce Mbah of PDP winner.

“As long as they keep holding the results, we keep occupying Enugu”.

He pointed out that Section 64(8) of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that where collation has been completed as in the present case of Enugu State, the duty of the collation officer, who collated the result is to announce the result and make a declaration.

Therefore, having collated the results, the statutory duty and legal responsibility of the State Returning Officer is simply to announce and declare the results, as INEC cannot, by law, suspend the declaration of result already collated.

“We’re surprised that up to this moment, INEC has refused to declare Peter Mbah as the winner of the election.

“We’re also aware of Section 103(1) of the same Electoral Act that says that if you are aggrieved or have petitions, you should go to the Election Petition Tribunal.

“INEC should not usurp the power of the tribunal. INEC can only receive results. They don’t have to review the results or consider petitions against results.

“I was a member of the National Assembly that helped in authoring this particular the Electoral Act.

“We are saying that what transpired during the collation of the presidential election results after February 25 election should equally be applicable to Enugu State.

“On that occasion, Dino Melaye and other PDP agents raised an alarm about over voting in some parts of the country and insisted that the results should not be announced. But INEC went ahead to announce it, insisting that they were empowered by Section 64(8) of the Electoral Act to declare the result. He went ahead to declare the result.

“Why is he not doing the same thing in Enugu State? Why is he doing a different thing in Enugu State?

“We have a charter of understanding since 1999 which means zoning. So, it has to start from where it started in 1999. We don’t want anybody to distort the peace and understanding we have been having in Enugu State. Just seamless transition is what we want.

“We are begging them to come and declare Peter Mbah as the duly elected governor of Enugu State in the interest of peace”.

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