Monday, November 25, 2013

Anambra: INEC official docked for negligence of duty

AN Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, official for
Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra State, in the last
gubernatorial election in the state, Mr. Chukwujekwu Okeke was,
yesterday, arraigned before a Wuse Zone 2 Chief Magistrate's Court,
Abuja, on a one-count charge of dereliction of duty.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Usman Shuaibu, has however ordered that the
accused be remanded in police custody till December 2, to enable the
police complete its investigation on the matter.
He also said that the application for bail filed on behalf of the
accused would be considered on that day.
Earlier, the prosecutor, DSP Stanley Nwodo, from the Force CID, said
that on November 16, the accused unlawfully breached his official
duties at Idemili, where he was deployed.
Alleged offence
Nwodo informed the court that the accused deliberately withheld
electoral materials designed for the elections, thereby, breaching
electoral procedures.
He then prayed the court to give the Police 14 days to enable it
complete investigation into the matter.
'Not guilty'
Nwodo said that the accused, who pleaded not guilty, was standing
trial on a one-count charge of dereliction of duty contrary to Section
123 (1) (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
Counsel to the accused, Mr. Daniel Nwogbodo, applied for bail for his
client under Section 341 of the Criminal Procedures Code and Section
36(5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The sections, which highlight bail as a right of a citizen, say that
an accused is considered innocent until otherwise proven.
Nwogbodo told the court that his client was a senior civil servant and
a responsible family man and would not jump bail.
He also said that his client had a health condition (high blood
pressure), which started deteriorating in Awka where he was held in
Police custody before being transferred to the force CID in Abuja.
Nwogbodo also told the court that his client would not jeopardise
police investigation.
Governor Obi
Meanwhile, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra said, yesterday, that neither
All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, nor himself rigged the November
16 governorship elections in the state.
Obi spoke to journalists after the launch of the third phase of the
Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria, YouWiN, programme by
President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa.
He said: "In the election in Anambra State, I can go to any where as a
Christian and tell you there was no issue of rigging. Those who wanted
to rig were prevented from rigging and they are crying."
The governor said APGA as a popular and acceptable party in the state
would defeat any opposition party in any election.
He also faulted the calls for the cancellation of the elections by the
opposition parties, saying "If you repeat that election 10 times, they
will never win.
"Why are they even talking about cancellation? The regulation, the
rules or the law says that you have to win at least 25 per cent in
two-third of the local governments
"In the Anambra case, it is 14 local governments that make up the two
third and only APGA can boast of that because we won in 18 local
"The nearest, which is PDP, won in nine local governments, APC is
seven, and I can tell you that it is their own results that are
It will be recalled that the election conducted on November 16 was
declared inconclusive by INEC.
The national electoral body had also fixed November 30 for the conduct
of supplementary election in the state.
INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, had admitted irregularities in
the conduct of the polls and apologised on behalf of the commission.

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