Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you to this briefing on recent events in Abia State with regard to the 2019 general elections and the plan of All Progressive Congress Party (APC) leaders in the state to rig the elections using a combination of intimidation, ballot stuffing and result writing.
The vigorous campaigns of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state prior to the botched February 16, 2019 election , were well covered by the media in the country as can be testified by many of you here. While we were busy campaigning, our major opponents in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) were hardly seen on the campaign trail but largely resorted to churning out lies and propaganda using social media channels.
Knowing the antecedents of our major opponents in their previous engagements, we decided to independently monitor them while still continuing our statewide campaign anchored around the nationally acknowledged good performance of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu along with other elected officials of the PDP family in the state.
The following represents the summary of our verifiable findings with regard to the plot by key leaders of APC in the state to intimidate voters and ultimately rig the 2019 elections.
1. Late in January 2019 we received reports of the clandestine arrival of sensitive Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) materials meant for 2019 elections from Abuja to a house belonging to an APC Chieftain in Bende Local Government Area of the State who is also a senatorial candidate in the forthcoming elections, as well as a subsequent meeting held at same location with other APC candidates who left the meeting with materials loaded into their vehicle trunks under the cover of the night.
2. Our continued more focused monitoring further revealed a plot to dress thugs in military uniforms, armed with weapons smuggled into the state, to be used during the elections to give cover to those expected to disrupt the polls in key Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) strongholds in an operation tagged “full deployment of federal might”
3. Those involved in the plot have been primed to kill innocent people in a bid to achieve their inordinate plan. For instance, armed uniformed thugs are billed to attack Mgboko in Obingwa LGA of the state, murder people and cause chaos that would ensure that elections are not held in the LGA where Governor Ikpeazu hails from. APC Chieftain, Orji Uzor Kalu, gave flesh to this plot when he recently stated in an interview that he will deploy whatever it takes to subdue Deputy Governor Ude Oko Chukwu and his supporters in the state.
4. To further assure success of the nefarious plan, authorities of a federal institution in the state were contacted to vet and submit a pro-APC list to INEC as ad hoc staff to work as collation and returning officers supervising elections at key locations in the state. We were later to discover that some of those selected individuals spent the days leading up to the election at the home of selected APC Chieftains in Igbere, Isuikwuato, Margaret Avenue, Aba, Osisioma and Umuahia, where they were engaged in perfecting the plan to thumbprint ballot papers and write results for the yet to be conducted elections.
Indeed, a Commissioner in the state received a call on Saturday morning from a highly placed individual in Abuja who was asking him how APC achieved the sweeping of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Abia. Unknown to the individual, no actual election held in Abia State on the 16th of February, 2019 but apparently a result had already been logged in for Abia State by those who copiously planned the forced take over of Abia State using “federal might”.
5. We observed that in the night of February 15, 2019, telecommunications base stations around the locations where key plotters and executors of the APC rigging plan were shut down locally and simultaneously between 8pm to 6am. We believe that the uninstall occurrence had to do with the plan to ensure that INEC card readers are unable to upload on real time basis the data on voters accreditation thereby allowing room for the already thumb-printed ballots to be stuffed into the boxes with incident forms used to account for non accredited voters while the already financially induced ad hoc collation and returning officers deposit the already prepared result sheets as authentic election results.
6. At the periphery of the APC rigging plan was the coopting of innocent youth corp members and N-power beneficiaries in the state as field runners for the rigging plan. While in some locations, Corp members were paid N20,000 to N30,000 to help in the plan, including participating in the massive thumb printing operations reported at a house in Margaret Avenue Aba, beneficiaries of the N-power program were more difficult to coopt.
7. As many of you must have been aware, on Friday, 15th of February, 2019, beneficiaries of the Federal Government-sponsored N-Power Social Investment Program were unusually invited for a “head count” meeting at the campaign headquarters of a factional APC Governorship candidate, located at 1, Item Street, Umuahia.
When the focal person of the program in the state, Mr Chinenye Nwogu, was alerted by some of the participants in the program, he inquired from the Presidency via the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs Maryam Uwais, to verify the validity of the invitation and was told that no such invitation was issued by her office. On the strength of that confirmation, he sent out messages to the beneficiaries through one of the office volunteers, Mr Felix Kennedy Obisike, not to attend the meeting.
Unfortunately, one of the beneficiaries who out of curiosity attended the program was isolated, detained and tortured by armed men in mufti within the campaign office and compelled him under duress to call Felix to come and pick him up at a location near the office.
On arrival at the location, Felix Kennedy Obisike was forcefully abducted from his car, taken to the campaign office of Uche Ogah and tortured mercilessly under the supervision of one Barrister Ubani Onyekachi Monday who works directly with Mr Uche Ogah as his legal adviser, and a fake INEC result sheet planted in a file found with Felix. He was subsequently filmed with the voice of Barrister Ubani clearly identified in the video later circulated online as he was screaming and cajoling the helpless victim to admit ownership of the fake result sheet. Obisike vehemently refused to admit ownership of the document which he saw one of the armed men pull out from his pocket.
Barr Ubani and his team had to edit the video to make it look like Mr Obisike actually admitted ownership of the document. But he never did!
8. After the publication of the video which was widely circulated online, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Dr Joseph Ilo, dismissed the document planted on Obisike as FAKE and not emanating from INEC who, according to him, will normally write out results in long hands as against the typed document on an apparently photoshopped letterhead.
9. It is important to note that it was the Focal person of N-power program in Abia State who got wind of the torturing of Felix Obisike that sent messages to the Department of State Services Operatives in the State to intervene and rescue the victim. Subsequently, Barr Onyekachi Monday Ubani took the badly battered Felix to the DSS Office and made a statement to the agency before he was left to go home while the victim has been in DSS custody for 4 days without any charges being preferred against him.
NO SINGLE ARREST WAS MADE from Uche Ogah campaign office, including Uche Ogah, the armed men who lured Felix to his campaign office, abducted, tortured and released a video of him only to cyber bully him with a view to implicating officials of Abia State Government in a phantom case of result writing.
10. We have on good authority that the APC Chieftains in the state behind this plot which was only put at bay by the postponement of the February 16 polls are still meeting to perfect their plans with a view to deployment on the 23rd of February and 9th of March, 2019, respectively.
We wish to place security agencies in the country, international observers and INEC on notice that we are fully aware of these ongoing plots and intrigues and are ready to ensure that only the will of the people, expressed through the ballot box in a transparently free, fair and credible election will be acceptable in Abia State.
It is also important to demand that security agents investigate, retrieve and destroy all illegal electoral materials, fake military uniforms and arms in the custody of key Abia APC leaders before the conduct of the rescheduled election.
In addition, they should provide security at the base stations of telecommunications companies in the state to avert a reoccurrence of the deliberate sabotage witnessed prior to the botched February 16, election.
Finally, we wish to call on the authorities of the Department of State Services to immediately release Felix Kennedy Obisike from whatever custody and ensure that Messers Uche Ogah, Monday Onyekachi Ubani and others present at the Uche Ogah campaign headquarters are immediately invited for questioning and possible prosecution for abduction, forgery, torture and Cyber bullying.