2023 polls: BVAS now worse rigging strategy for election– Ohuabunwa

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Senator Mao Ohuabunwa has expressed disappointment with the failure of Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machine which he said many Nigerians had believed would put an end to manipulation of election results

Ohuabunwa said that BVAS had worsened the evil of rigging.

This is even as he has denied the reports that he was allegedly arrested by security agencies for trying to buy votes during last week’s National Assembly polls, describing the reports as satanic stories assembled by his opponents.

The former Leader, ECOWAS Parliament, who contested last Saturday’s senatorial election in Abia North on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lamented that contrary to earlier promises by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, election results were not uploaded through the BVAS to INEC server.

The deliberate delay and failure to do this, according to him, gave room for the manipulation of poll results at the various collation centres.

Ohuabunwa, who addressed a press conference in Umuahia, accused INEC of using BVAS to deceive innocent contestants who believed the innovation would actually help checkmate rigging not knowing it had made things worse.

“I thought BVAS would help stop rigging but now rigging is worse than ever. We trusted BVAS not knowing there was no BVAS”, he lamented.

Mao said that voting materials did not get to Arochukwu and Ohafia federal constituency which is his stronghold until around 4:00 pm on Saturday, thus leading to the late commencement of polls.

“I totally reject the result of the Abia North senatorial election and I call for a fresh exercise,” he said.

Ohuabunwa alleged non-use of BVAS in collation of election results, deliberate disenfranchisement of his supporters, and resort to manual collation as reasons for rejecting the result.

He said there was no election in over 100 polling units in his stronghold, alleging it was orchestrated to disenfranchise his supporters and ultimately suppress his votes.

Senator Ohuabunwa further lamented that even while voters in the affected areas re-assembled on Monday, February 27 for a re-run poll as directed by INEC, the Returning Officer contrary to Electoral Act rushed to announce the results.

Ohuabunwa who said the number of voters in the disenfranchised units was over 60,000, which was far more than margin of win, called for the cancellation of the entire exercise and investigation of the Returning Officer who he accused of compromise.

He said he would seek legal redress to correct the anomaly.

On the reports that he was detained by security agencies for indulging in vote buying, Senator Ohuabunwa described the report as fake, while also denying the reports that he engaged the services of cultists during the Senatorial contest.

He urged his supporters to remain calm as every anomaly allegedly perpetrated during the Abia North Senate contest would be corrected.

The immediate-past Secretary to Abia State Government, Dr Eme Okoro, who was at the briefing, expressed total disappointment over the action of the Returning Officer for Abia North senatorial election.

He cautioned INEC against colluding with any dark force to subvert the will of the people.

Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was announced winner of the contest by the Returning Officer.

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