Abia Women Protest Alleged Manipulation Of National Assembly Poll
SAN FRANCISCO, April 08, (THEWILL) – No fewer than 1,000 Abia women, all dressed in black attires, staged a protest march in Umuahia on Tuesday against what they described as the falsification of the March 28 National Assembly election in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
They expressed concern that the election, which was peacefully conducted in the state, was ” rigged by PDP in connivance with some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).''
Operating under the aegis of Abia Women For Good Governance, the protesters demanded that ''our votes must count.''
They said that the results of the poll were not the true reflection of the people's votes.
The leader of the group, Ms Jenifer Ukaobasi, said, “We freely voted for the candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the Senate and House of Representatives but we were surprised that our votes did not count.”
“We are tired with the status quo, we want a positive change in Abia and we voted for APGA.”
Ukaobasi, who led the women to the INEC office in Umuahia, said “we went to tell INEC that enough is enough.”
Speaking in the same vein, 75-year-old Madam Patience Eleleme, the leader of a group, Grassroots Women, whose members were also part of the protest, lamented that “we stood under the scorching sun to vote for APGA but INEC declared PDP candidates as winners.”
The septuagenarian added; “Our grouse is that we voted for APGA but the ruling-PDP government rigged the results in connivance with some unscrupulous INEC officials.
“What we are requesting is that our votes must count.”
The protesters displayed placards with different inscriptions, some of which read, “We will speak again!”, “This time, you will kill us first before you steal our votes again,” “APGA won all,” among others.
Receiving the protesters, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Selina Oko, expressed worry over the series of protests that have so far trailed the results of the polls.
Oko said that she was disturbed because the protests portrayed her as having not done well, “in spite of my efforts to ensure that the exercise is credible.”
Oko urged them to assist her with documented evidence of the alleged fraud, including the one involving any of her officials, to enable her to take the matter to the highest quarters.