‘I didn’t declare Ubah winner under duress’

February 28, 2019
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The Returning Officer for last Saturday’s Anambra South senatorial election, Prof. Meshach Umenweke, has dismissed as false the report saying he declared the candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Ifeanyi Ubah, winner of the election to save his life.

A national daily, (not The Nation), had reported that the Officer, in a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), claimed the election was inconclusive, adding that he was forced to declare Ubah the winner.

The report said Umenweke wrote the electoral umpire recanting his earlier declaration of the candidate of the party as the winner of the poll.

But Umenweke, of the Department of Public and Private Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, in a statement, on Thursday, said he did not announce the election results under duress.

The statement partly read, “Notwithstanding the contents of my letter dated the 25th of February, 2019, I never at any point said that I announced the results of the Anambra South senatorial election under duress.

“No gun or knife was pointed at me at the material time of the election results announcement. The election tribunal remains the constitutionally recognized means for any aggrieved party.”

Umenweke however admitted that his declaration of the exercise as inconclusive was to enable him debrief the 7 local government collation officers on the issues raised in the petition by the PDP candidate and to investigate the claims.

According to him, no reports were received by the collation officers involved in the election after extensive investigations were carried out.

He said, “In the light of no evidence before me to support the claims of the writer of the petition, I hereby reaffirm my declaration that Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, the candidate of YPP is the winner of the election Anambra South senatorial election.

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