Leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-east zone, Thursday, disclosed that its decision to participate in Saturday’s supplementary election was to further demonstrate the party’s belief in the rule of law and confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct credible elections.
The party’s National Vice Chairman, South-east, Col Austin Akobundu, in a statement in Enugu urged party members in the state to ensure that they participate fully in the exercise.
This is coming at a time leaders of Nzuko Imeobi Idemili Association, a socio-cultural association of the people of Idemili North and Idemili South councils insisted that the only way the entire 2013 governorship election in the state could be credible is for INEC to allow the people to not only vote in the supplementary election but for their votes to be counted.
Leader of the association, Chief Obiora Okonkwo, in a statement in Enugu pleaded with the leadership of the INEC, the political parties and their supporters to ensure that the circumstances which led to the disfranchisement of over 100,000 voters in over 160 polling units in the two councils do not occur again during the supplementary elections.
On his part, Akobundu asked the affected councils, wards and polling units involved in the supplementary exercise to comply with the directive adding that they should mobilise, support and vote for the party’s candidate, Tony Nwoye.
He acknowledged that the Anambra chairman of PDP, Ken Emeakayi had been directed to ensure that PDP faithful in the state are in preparation to exercise their franchise come Saturday, adding that Emeakayi is already working in compliance.
“The party expresses its gratitude to all our members, supporters and the electorate in Anambra state for their support to the part and our candidate, Comrade Tony Nwoye and appeals to them to vote for PDP and ensure that the party secures the majority of the votes in the affected areas during the Supplementary polls.”
But the Nzuko Imeobi Idemili Association noted that though they were saddened by the massive cancellation and implied disenfranchisement of the people of the two local councils, they were however not surprised by it.
“Ahead of the November 16 governorship election, we made the point that the two local governments – Idemili North and Idemili South – will hold the key to the election. We made that statement with all sense of responsibility following our understanding of the historical antecedents in our state.
“But we didn't anticipate that the desperate fight for our bloc votes will degenerate to a situation where an INEC staff will be compromised and unscrupulous as well as out-of-favour politicians would disrupt the conduct of the elections. Such was the certainty of victory that the bloc votes of the two councils offer to candidates.
“With the election almost won and lost, we implore Idemili people to shame all those who tried to disenfranchise them and take this second chance of a supplementary election to make a statement with their votes. We also demand of INEC the highest possible ethical conduct of its staff, ad hoc or regular. This is an opportunity for the commission to restore some credibility as its initial conduct has cast doubts about its ability to conduct a credible election in 2015,” he stated.