Prof. Nnenna Oti, Returning Officer for the Abia State governorship election, has disclosed that some persons mounted pressure on her and even offered her bribe to manipulate the election.
Exactly a week ago, Alex Otti of Labour Party was declared winner of the governorship poll.
According to the results announced at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) head office in Abia, Otti polled 175,467 votes to defeat Okey Ahiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was his closest challenger. Ahiwe scored 88,529 votes.
Before the final announcement of the results, the INEC suspended the collation of results owing to the dispute that emanated from the results of Obingwa Local government.
Speaking while being welcomed by the staff and students of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Oti, who is the Vice Chancellor, said before the final declaration of the result, she was promised huge financial reward to subvert the will of Abia people.
She said she was threatened and intimidated but she refused to compromise her principle and stood by the people.
“As an electoral officer, I have never in my life participated in any election, but duty came calling, I made my enquiries from Abuja,” Oti said.
“If I perish, I perish, they came with their threats, they came with their money, they came with their intimidation.”
She stated that she stood on her ideals and principles not to short-change anyone and ensured that the will of the people of Abia prevailed and that their votes counted during the election.
“I didn’t start today; I stand here before God, Jesus Christ. I have never defrauded anyone, all I did was to declare the riot act as follows: Under me, votes must count. Under me, the people’s mandate will be upheld because I, Professor Nnnena Oti, can never do evil,” she said.
INEC had suspended collation of the election results after thugs overran one of its offices in Abia.
The Returning Officer and some key electoral officials were summoned to Abuja over the controversy.
Abia is the only state where Labour Party won in the governorship election. PDP has been controlling the state since the return of democracy in 1999.
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