The Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in Abia State, Apostle Dr. Ngozika Gladys Johnson Ogbuneke, is calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to extend the deadline for the closure of submission of polling unit agents to February 5th, 2023.
According to her, the call has become imperative going by the frustration faced in registration of the polling unit agents on INEC portal, alleging that a certain political party in the state, go to the extent of promising to pay these would be agents N20,000 to allow their names to be included as polling unit agents, maintaining that this is unacceptable and piles pressure on other political parties.
She accused INEC of not giving all the political parties a level playing ground, insisting that if the electoral umpire should go ahead with the January 20th deadline as against their insistence for extension, it means that they have perfected plans to favour the said political party that is spending money on would be party agents.
Apostle Dr. Ngozika Gladys Johnson Ogbuneke, said the circular that INEC is making reference to, was issued to political parties in 2021 when she and other Governorship candidates of other political parties had not emerged, emphasizing that such circular, has not been sent personally to her since she emerged the SDP Governorship candidate and cannot be used as reference.
She informed that the original date was January 18th, but because her party and others raised concerns over their inability to meet up with the date, INEC added another two days extension, contending that with the frustration in getting polling unit agents which is a civic right of the citizenry, her party cannot still meet up with the pressure from INEC and a said political party that promises to pay N20,000 to would be polling unit agents.
Apostle Dr. Ngozika Gladys Johnson Ogbuneke said the way INEC is insisting on closing the registration today, will give undue advantage to the PDP and others, while urging INEC to extend the exercise to February 5th, 2023. She reiterated that the date will not distort activities of the Commission as they will still have more 3 weeks to go on with their plans before the February 25th Presidential election.
She, however, declared that if INEC insists on the January 20 deadline, she will not accept the result of the election announced by the electoral umpire because her polling unit agents were not registered, hence were not also allowed to monitor proceedings at various polling units in the 17 LGA of Abia State.