*As police fire teargas at him, supporters
Former Governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, Monday , declared himself winner of the last Saturday senatorial election conducted in Enugu East Senatorial zone/
Nnamani who was accompanied by a large crowd of supporters from all the six local government areas in Enugu East senatorial zone, stormed the Michael Okpara Square in several buses after driving round the Enugu capital city in protest against the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to award victory to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Senator Gilbert Nnaji.
He and his supporters who were armed with several placards with the inscription “Chimaroke won Enugu East senatorial seat”, “INEC sold Nnamani’s mandate to PDP”, “Democracy has been killed in Enugu” and “This injustice will not stand” and chanting “No Chimaroke, No Gburugburu” were spread with several canisters of teargass as they marched to INEC office in Enugu to register their grievances.The former governor, who contested the senatorial seat on the platform of People for Democratic Change, PDC, and was favoured to win, having ran a robust electioneering campaign, told newsmen after the protest march that he was convinced that the people of the zone elected him and not Nnaji whom the electoral body declared winner of the poll.
Describing the election as a sad thing for Nigeria’s democracy, Nnamani said that the declaration of Nnaji as winner of the election by INEC was a “farce”.
He said: “We condemn and reject in its entirety the result of the National Assembly elections in the Enugu East Senatorial District as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission. Documented and provable evidences indeed abound on the magnitude of charade and fraud that characterized the process.
“The ruling PDP has once again subverted the will of our people by brazen inducement of INEC officials and security agencies, outright rigging, open vote buying at polling stations, intimidation and violence. The PDP and rigging have always been conjoined lime Siamese twins. But never before has this scale of electoral chicanery been visited so callously on a people so desirous of effecting change through the ballot.
“It is remarkable that the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Enugu State, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukaogu notorious for his ignoble role in the last controversial governorship election in Anambra State, is also true to habit, at the centre of this election scam.
“Some consistent patterns were observed in every local government area on the blatant manipulation of the exercise. Almost everywhere partisan INEC officials refused to show the original result sheets to our party polling agents before the commencement of voting as required by law, while in many places our agents were kept at bay to prevent them from their legitimate duty of monitoring the voting process.
“Also, in many Wards, there was a deliberate mix up of result sheets belonging to different polling booths to create confusion and enable the writing of fake results. But the most vicious malfeasance witnessed was the apparent instruction to INEC officials to delay voting and the counting of votes into the night in a ploy to prevent the collation of results in the various Ward Collation centres as required by law and instead shift the collations to Local Government Headquarters where it was easy to manipulate and re-write the results from a coordinated central location.”
“I want it to be on record that I won the senatorial election. I won the election; I don’t need anybody to declare me winner; I have declared myself winner. We are going to change the politics of Enugu in the next 10 days; it is possible that the PDP will not produce the Governor; it is very possible”.
Nnamani, however, expressed appreciation to his supporters for the continued goodwill, support and commitment “to the values of our party as we expressed on the 28th of March, 2015. We are particularly grateful to our party faithful, canvassers and volunteers for your loyalty and courage even in the face of harassment , intimidation and brutality.”
“We urge you to keep calm and resist the urge to take any step that may lead to breakdown of law and order and bloodshed. Our participation in this election is indicative of our strong faith in this democracy and in the rule of law. We are confident that this grave injustice shall not stand and that victory will ultimately be ours,” he told the PDC supporters.