ANAMBRA CENTRAL: I STAND ON MY DECLARATION - ANENE
The Returning Officer for Anambra Central senatorial election, Mr. Alex Anene yesterday dismissed the report that he apologised to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over his declaration of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Dr. Chris Ngige as winner of the election, insisting that he still stands by his declaration.
In a statement made available to newsmen yesterday in Awka, Anene described the publication of the purported apology as a further intimidation by those after his life for refusing to do their bidding.
Anene, who was reacting to the said publication expressed surprise that the writer of the story did not make any confirmation, saying, 'the writer, for whatever reasons, did not consider it necessary to seek my own reaction, official reaction of INEC and did not quote anybody, showing that the information is false. It is in my view a made-up story designed to score cheap political points.'
The Chief Accountant of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who was one of those that testified behind closed doors to the INEC fact-finding panel further said, 'without divulging the content of any report that has not been placed in the public domain, these facts were laid bare to the panel set up by INEC headquarters in Abuja, as well as other relevant security agencies and are well documented. They do not contain any apologies, for whatever imagined wrong-doing that failed to be stated in the report.'
Further describing the report as a pack of 'unprintable lies' he prayed God to forgive those 'who caused it to be printed on Easter day,' insisting that it was coming from 'the burden of guilt in the mind of some persons who are not hidden, going by the thrust of the false story and its potential beneficiaries, given the timing.
'For the avoidance of doubt, I do not wish to be dragged into partisan politics because that is not my call. Providence only positioned me, by virtue of my appointment as senatorial district returning officer (SDRO) for the April 9 senatorial polls in Anambra Central, to discharge an important assignment to our nation through INEC and my conscience assures me that I have done what I should do and have made decisions I should make in the circumstance.'
Noting that he promptly reported to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, Anene said he discharged his duties creditably, adding 'that history will be the judge between me and those who are in a hurry to rewrite history for short-term gains. 'My decision to reject this bribe brought instant threats to my life, which made it difficult to immediately discharge my duties until April 11, 2011 when I eventually announced my results.
'After I managed, through God's intervention, to escape alive from INEC office and went into hiding, I was getting death threats through telephone calls with hidden numbers in the same language as I got in the INEC office after getting a thorough beating for rejecting the inducement and standing by the real results. So I removed my regular telephone SIM card, bought a new Etisalat SIM card and forwarded the telephone number to the REC through my wife, with a message that he should arrange security for me to enable me meet him and discuss the completion of my assignment, which he acknowledged.
'This was long before he made an announcement purporting to appoint a new returning officer. All this information was made available to the panel in the presence of the REC. So I fail to see where the writer of that story got his mischievous story from.'