Cross River Daily news media independently observed the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency election extremely between the People’s Democratic Party candidate, Rt. Hon. John Gaul and the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Mr. Alex Egbonna (though, Barr. Eworo is still laying claim to the ticket). The election which was conducted on 23rd February witnessed a lot of violence despite peaceful campaigns by both major parties in preparation to election day and this piece conveys Cross River Daily’s report on the election and futher predicts the verdict of the election tribunal which is currently at work on the matter.
The election held in all the 13 council wards of Yakurr LGA and the 10 council wards of Abi LGA, bringing the total number of council wards to 23. In Yakurr, PDP won in 9 council wards, namely: Mkpani, Assiga, Inyima, Afrekpe, Ntan, Ikpakapit, Biko-Biko, Ijom, and Idomi. Whereas, APC won in the remaining 4 council wards, namely: Ijiman, Ajere, Nkpolo, and Abanamkpai. Also, in Abi, PDP won 6 of the 10 council wards, namely: Itigidi, Adadama, Ebom, Afafanyi, Ediba, Imabana II. On the other hand, APC won in the remaining 4 wards, namely: Ekureku I, Ekureku II, Imabana I, and Usumutong.
The outcome of the exercise at council wards level shows that PDP won in 15 out of the 23 council wards in the constituency and APC won in only 8 wards.
According to the returning officer of the election, Prof. Eke Opara who declared the APC candidate as winner of the election in Abi LGA (though lost at wards level), failed to make a declaration of the winner for Yakurr LGA. However, two days after the day of election, Monday, February 25th, INEC released a result sheet with exact figures of 29,432 for the APC candidate and 26,970 for the PDP candidate. Hence, with a margin of 2,462, INEC declared the APC candidate as winner of the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency election exercise.
Candidate of the PDP, Rt. Hon John Gaul Lebo has approached the tribunal to the effect that the total number of accredited voters for Ekureku Ward I&II was 3890, but surprisedly the total number of votes cast in the both ward came out to the figure of 11,300 majorly for the APC candidate, and John Gaul is questioning the wherefrom of the 7410 votes difference.
The Tribunal’s Verdict:
Meanwhile, the election tribunal committee is yet to deliver a verdict on the matter before it, however, its verdict can not be far from Cross River Daily’s prediction. Two options are before the committee; either to nullify the election exercise in Ekureku I&II since the results there contradict the total number of qualified voters, or, share the 3890 accredited votes between the APC and PDP candidates.
Whatever be the decision of the committee, Cross River Daily is predicting that the election tribunal will restore the mandate of Abi/Yakurr to Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo of the PDP instead of the stolen mandate Alex Egbonna currently holds.