The Abia State National Assembly Election
Petition Tribunal, sitting in Umuahia, has been
informed how the Peoples Democratic Party
allegedly manipulated the Abia North Senatorial
election in favour of Senator Mao Ohuabunwa.
The facts came to light when two witnesses in
the consolidated petitions challenging the
outcome of the Abia North senatorial poll,
Ihekweaba Chukwugoziem and David Ogba
Onuoha-Bourdex, entered the witness box on
Testifying during the start of hearing into his
petition, the principal witness and petitioner, Mr.
Onuoha-Bourdex, disclosed that he won the
election by scoring majority of the lawful votes.
He said out of error, the Independent National
Electoral Commission returned Mao Ohuabunwa
as winner based on fictitious results.
He alleged that out of desperation and
exasperation, the PDP and its candidate decided
to hurriedly inflate results of some polling units
at the ward collating centres to upturn the
Dr. David Ogba Onuoha-Bourdex
Giving instances of the large-scale irregularities
that took place at the collation centre, Mr.
Onuoha-Bourdex alleged that based on the
inflated results, even dead persons were
brought back to life to vote in the Abia North
senatorial election on March 28, 2015.
He stated: “If you look at the voters register,
you will find that even dead people voted. They
were supposed to have woken up, voted and
then went back to their graves.”
He alleged that in certain polling units, the first
respondent inflated votes on the result sheet by
prefixing the figure before the original votes
recorded for him from the votes tally.
“For instance in Arochukwu local government
area, at Ovukwu polling unit 002 where the first
respondent scored 56, the figure was inflated on
the mutilated Form EC8B to read 156; in 003
instead of 42 votes it scored, 142 was recorded
and in 004 where it scored 24 votes the result
was inflated to 124,” he disclosed.
The chief witness revealed the pattern of
inflation was followed in Ohaeke, Ohafor 11,
Arochukwu 11, Eleowa/Ihechiowa, Ututu, Isu,
Arochukwu 111 and Ikwun Ihechiowa.
In Ohafia LGA, which has 11 Wards, and where
INEC credited the first respondent, Mao
Ohuabunwa, with 13,756 votes, the entire LGA
two wards of Ndi Elu and Ndi Agbor in Nkporo,
where elections did not hold, produced 7,538
votes and were recorded in favour of Mr.
While urging the tribunal to restore his mandate
and declare him the rightful winner of the Abia
North senatorial election, the APGA candidate
maintained that it was wrong for INEC to have
declared Mr.Ohuabunwa the winner since,
according to him, the PDP candidate did not
score the highest number of lawful votes cast.
He said Mr. Mao lost even in his own ward and
that he, the APGA candidate, won in all the
three wards in Arochukwu kingdom.
He rebuffed the suggestions of counsels to the
first respondent and INEC, Donald Dee-Wigwe
(SAN), and Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), respectively
that his depositions were false.
Mr. Onuoha-Bourdex reiterated that the
senatorial election was manipulated to favour
the PDP candidate.
“I won the election,” he said. “If the votes were
properly computed, I scored 37,115 lawful votes
while the respondent who was declared winner
got 28,800 votes. The figures were sourced
from the collated votes from the polling units in
possession of my polling agents across the five
local governments that constitute the Abia North
In answer to a question by counsel to the first
respondent that he was not entitled to the
reliefs he was seeking, the petitioner countered
that he was the rightful winner of the election
and should be so declared.
He said he relied confidently on the reports
submitted to INEC by the collation officers as
tendered and admitted by the tribunal.
When it was time for the returning officer for the
Abia North Senatorial election, Mr.
Chukwugoziem, to testify, a mild drama ensued
as counsels for the first respondent rejected his
cross examination on the grounds that he was
a subpoenaed witness and that his witness
statement should have been served on the
respondent before his testimony and that as
such he should only tender the report of the
INEC Committee alongside his affidavit of facts.
The Counsel to the petitioner, Chris Uche (SAN),
after a long argument, conceded that the INEC
returning officer could submit the documents.
He said although he was not among the
petitioner’s witnesses, he could be recalled at a
later date in the course of the trial.
However, in his affidavit of facts, the returning
officer deposed that he was an Associate
Professor in Computer Engineering at the
Michael Okpara University of Agriculture,
Umudike, adding that he was appointed the
Returning Officer for the Abia North Senatorial
election by INEC.
He noted that after the election on March 28,
2015, results from the five local government
areas that made up the senatorial district were
slow in coming adding that after waiting till
Sunday evening for the results from Arochukwu,
Bende, Umunochi and Isuikwuato to come in in
vain, the atmosphere in Ohafia local government
council headquarters, which was designated the
headquarters of the senatorial district, became
“Hoodlums and thugs came threatening to take
over the office and to burn down the place and
kill the Electoral Officers including myself if the
results were not produced,” he said.
He said at that point he communicated the
situation to the REC and requested for security.
He noted that at last when the results came
from the five local government areas,
irregularities were discovered in many of them.
Mr. Chukwugoziem added that the same
irregularities were noticed and recorded by the
security agents at a conference room in the
INEC headquarters at Umuahia.
While pointing out that result of the election
held on March 28, 2015 could only be made
public on April 1, 2015, the RO explained that
based on the discrepancies noted in most of the
results, a committee was set up by the REC.
“Upon the committee’s sitting, several
irregularities were discovered in the results and
the results shown not to have emanated from
the field of election,” he said. “This was
observed and recorded by the security
agencies. That up and until April 1, 2015, the
anomalies and irregularities were still being
unearthed and so none of the candidates could
be returned as winner of the election as the
committee had not concluded the exercise and
collation of the results not yet done.
“That I have not collated the results and have
not declared any of the candidates as winner of
the election in view of the issues that are yet to
Absolving himself from the use of wrong data to
return a candidate of the election, the RO
indicated in his report to the Abia State REC on
the election in Abia North Senatorial district
that: “As a law-abiding citizen and the person
entrusted with the responsibility of making the
return in line with the law, it has become
difficult for me to contain with signing the
produced document which did not emanate
from me as the returning officer since there are
issues with data contained there as observed
by the committee members including security
He disclosed that several threats were made to
him, his friends and relations.
Senator Mao Ohuabunwa
“The evasive persuasion to announce a pre-
arranged result which was not in tandem with
the law, could not go down well with me as well
as my conscience, further convinced me that
something was really wrong,” he said.
The committee on the verification of election
results in the two contentious local government
areas, Arochukwu and Ohafia, in its report, said
it discovered that in Arochukwu local
government area, 51 Polling Units had their
results either mutilated or inflated in favor of
PDP while 15 PUs had no results.
It said a total of 66 PUs were found to be
deficient in the form EC8B(I).
The report was endorsed by the following INEC
officials: Charles Mbanaja, (Admin Secretary);
Gilbert Okolie, (HOD Operations); Barrister
Sunday Nwigboke, (Head, Legal Service Unit)
and Edwin Enabor, (HOD, Voter Education and
It noted that while considering the complaints
by the APGA candidate, Mr. Onuoha-Bourdex, it
discovered that in Ohafia only one PU had a
mutilated and altered result while in Arochukwu
57 PUs had their results either mutilated or
inflated in favor of PDP even as seven PUs had
no results recorded.
“A total of 64 PUs was found to be deficient in
the EC8B (I),” he said.
Owing to the interest generated by the Abia
North Senatorial election, the entire premises of
the new High Court in Umuahia was filled with
The counsel to the petitioner, Chris Uche,
(SAN) told reporters after the sitting, “We are
happy with the progress made today, because
results from the polling agents were tendered
and received by the tribunal. The petitioner took
the witness box and performed creditably.”
In his own contribution, counsel to the first
respondent, Mr Dee-Wigwe (SAN) said the
petitioner wants to pull his client out of the
senate, stressing that his questions were to
ensure that he does not.
Abia State Secretary of APGA, Onukwubili
Sunday, commended the tribunal for their
mature approach, saying that the justices gave
room for both parties to operate.
He regretted that the respondents in the petition
were bent on confusing the court.
He said by trying to oppose the returning
officer from rendering a narration of how the
rigging took place, the respondents gave the
impression that they did not want the whole
truth to be revealed.
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