The Returning Officer for Saturday’s election in Anambra South, Prof. Meshach Umenweke, has dismissed reports that he declared candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Ifeanyi Ubah, winner to save his life.
It was reported that Umenweke, in a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), claimed the election was inconclusive, and that he was forced to declare Ubah winner.
But Umenweke, in a statement yesterday, said he did not announce the results under duress.
The statement reads: “Notwithstanding the contents of my February 25 letter, I never at any point said I announced results of the Anambra South senatorial election under duress.
“No gun or knife was pointed at me while announcing the results. The election tribunal remains the constitutionally-recognised means for any aggrieved party.”
The electoral officer, however, admitted that declaring the exercise as inconclusive was to help him debrief the seven local government collation officers on issues raised in the PDP’s petition and to investigate the claims.
According to him, no reports were received by the collation officers after extensive investigations were done.
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 Anambra South senatorial election.”