Dr Elizabeth Agwu Incurably Unfit To Continue As Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner – Intersociety

…as out of every 500 eligible voters that came out to vote in a polling unit, 200 could not vote; likewise 150 out of every 300

…there must be comprehensive review of voting in the State’s 4,608 polling units and credible repeat in those without voting

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) strongly holds that Mr. Festus Okoye Esquire (INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education/National Commissioner in charge of Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi) and Dr Elizabeth Agwu (Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra) should jointly and inescapably be held responsible for massive and wide spread Election Day disenfranchisement of teeming voters in Anambra State who defied all odds to make themselves available at the State’s 4,608 polling units to conscientiously vote candidates of their choice in the Presidential and the National Assembly Elections of Sat, 25th Feb 2023. Despite the unprecedented number of voters that turned out; the first of its kind since the 1993’s Prof Humphrey Nwosu’s ‘Option A4’ voting pattern, the teeming Anambra voters were disappointed, degraded, humiliated and ostracized by INEC under the above named two top electoral officials.

This is to the extent that out of every 500 eligible voters that made it to a polling unit, 200, if not more could not cast their votes; likewise 150 out of every 300 in a polling unit with average PVC-voting numerical strength. The duo of Festus Okoye Esquire and Dr Mrs. Elizabeth Agwu also made sure that elections did not take place in hundreds of polling units, if not more across the State especially in secured urban areas. Elections were also speedily and flimsily put off by INEC in some interior parts of Ogbaru, Aguata, Nnewi South, Ihiala, etc using “insecurity” as a cover. In secured urban areas like Nkutaku and ‘Kara’ under Ogbaru and some parts of Awada under Idemmili North, etc, elections did not take place; whereby, voting materials were dumped and INEC staffers disappeared in some of them. In most parts of the State where elections belatedly held, gross late arrival of voting materials and INEC officials dragged the voting into late evening and in the end, shut out and stopped hundreds of thousands of voters, if not over a million from voting.

Across Anambra State in particular and South-East and Delta State in general, the voter turnout witnessed was unprecedented, to the extent that several hundreds were found in each polling unit and thousands in voting arena with five polling units. Yet, in the end, it was discovered that 40% did not vote and ended up going home frustrated and unhappy without voting. In all these, Intersociety found Festus Okoye Esquire in his capacity as INEC National Commissioner for Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi to be vicariously liable while Dr Mrs. Elizabeth Agwu in her capacity as Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner was directly liable and, therefore, incurably unfit to continue as Anambra REC. This is more so when the new Anambra REC, prior to her senatorial confirmation back in Oct 2022, was publicly accused by activists and critics of having a minus in her integrity and recommended as REC by a partisan third party.

It must be reminded that Intersociety had raised a credible alarm in late evening of Friday, 24th Feb 2023 around 8: pm, informing that there were going to be substantial delays in the commencement of yesterday’s polls in many parts of the State with high possibility of the polls not holding in some, if not several parts. Intersociety’s alarm was as a result of credible intelligence obtained, indicating eleventh hour deliberate and controversial cancellation of posting of INEC officials including SPOs, POs and APOs to their LGAs’ areas of assignment and dying minute posting of new ones; leading to their late arrival at their LGAs duty posts and grossly belated sorting of voting materials before being conveyed to polling units. More confusion ensued when they belatedly arrived their duty posts where discovery of duplication and missing of names was made; in addition to discovery that some of the newly posted SPOs, POs and APOs know little or nothing about BVAS Technology, etc. Intersociety also caused an open letter to be written to the duo of REC Agwu and National Commissioner Okoye, dated afternoon of Sat, 25th Feb 2023, bringing their urgent attention to the above highlighted and demanding for five hours extension of the polls. Yet, despite the extension momentarily granted, the INEC was unable to contain the mammoth crowd of voters turned out, owing to its deliberate delays for purpose of its Election Day massive voters’ disenfranchisement game plan.

The above highlighted action of the Anambra REC was also found to be politically and ill-motivated and undeniably aimed at massive disenfranchisement of massively turned out Anambra voters so as to stifle and mangle the voting strength and expected large number of votes for leading presidential candidates of South-East extraction. The action of Anambra REC is deemed by many as an extension of plot by members of cabalistic political movement in the South-East to frustrate the South-East from emancipating politically. Members of the cabalistic political political movement in the South-East have independently been identified to include some sitting South-East governors, serving and former federal lawmakers, troublesome billionaires and deadly political players from outside the South-East.

Intersociety strongly calls for immediate removal of Anambra REC, Dr Mrs. Elizabeth Agwu and comprehensive review by the Independent National Electoral Commission of the conduct of the presidential and national assembly polls across the State. Such comprehensive review must include where voting had taken place and how and when it was conducted and the conclusiveness or inconclusiveness of such poll. There must also be forensic identification of all the polling units where the polls did not take place so as to fix a new date in addition to provision of adequate voting materials and personnel for the rescheduled polls. We must strongly advise INEC to retrace its steps especially in Anambra State and stay away from being used undemocratically to scuttle the sacred electoral wishes of the people because the anger of the people is speedily nearing the nadir of boiling or explosive point.

For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety)

Emeka Umeagbalasi, M.Sc.

Board Chair @ Intersociety

Chinwe Umeche Esquire, LL.B, BL

Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program @Intersociety

Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire, LL.B, BL

Head, Campaign and Publicity Department @ Intersociety

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