Nweke described the governorship and House of Assembly elections as an assault on Nigeria’s democracy.
The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in last Saturday's governorship election in Enugu State, Chief Frank Nweke Jr has rejected the declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Peter Mbah, as the winner and governor-elect.
Nweke, a former information minister, who spoke during a press conference in Enugu on Friday, described the governorship and House of Assembly elections as an assault on Nigeria’s democracy.
He insisted that the elections were not free, fair and credible and as such he would accept the outcome as the will and wishes of the people of the state.
Nweke thanked the electorates for investing their hope and trust in his candidacy, describing it as a boost of inspiration for him and his team.
"It remains so even today," he said.
"The elections have come and gone, and with it a multitude of infringements on our democratic process, an assault on our desires and our hope for our great state. I celebrate everyone who came out to participate in the democratic process in spite of the challenges, threats and intimidation reported across the state.
"Your determination is a sign of the awakening that has taken place, and I encourage you to keep your hope alive. Do not despair and do not be discouraged by the unfortunate challenges that have beset our current democratic experience.
"I often said during my campaign that I would offer my congratulations and best wishes to whoever emerged in a fair and transparent manner. This election was far from fair and certainly, not transparent.
"The violence, thuggery, intimidation, use of divisive sentiments, and the weaponization of poverty against our people, which the Peoples Democratic Party deployed in the course of the campaign and the elections reflect the desperation of the party to hold on to power against the will of the people.
“It was never about service or the good of Ndi Enugu, and the impunity with which these wicked acts were carried out is sickening."
He added, "Just before midnight on Friday, March 17, 2023, another piece of propaganda was released and distributed aggressively to insinuate that I had stepped down for Peter Mbah, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“This recurrent lie may be referred to as a ‘political strategy’ but we must call a lie what it is - the absence of integrity, a quality most desired in our government today. We would also discover in the course of the day that agents and canvassers at polling units told voters the same story that I had stepped down on the morning of the election.
"Very early in the morning of Saturday, March 18, town criers travelled through several communities in Enugu state ordering anyone who would not vote in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party to stay home.
"The House of Assembly candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance for Udenu Constituency was attacked and almost killed on the morning of the election, while five polling units within his jurisdiction were cordoned off by police and military officers.
"At various polling units across the state, PDP thugs, party members, hired criminals and some compromised members of the police and military threatened voters at polling units and chased those who could not be bought over or intimidated into voting for the PDP. In Nsukka, voters recorded and reported gunshots at polling units allegedly instigated by the Labour Party."
The former minister alleged that the PDP in desperate efforts to rig the election, secured the assistance of the INEC agents to rig the election, offering cash or issuing threats as the situation demanded.
"Only a few polling unit agents uploaded their results directly on IREV as provided by INEC, and fake result sheets were used to rewrite and manipulate the results of vote counts at the polling units before the falsified results of the elections were uploaded to the IREV. Some of these result sheets are also completely blurred on the portal.
"The collation centres at the local government headquarters were completely hijacked by thugs and compromised security operatives, and party agents other than the agents of the PDP were not allowed access to any stage of the collation process until Sunday morning.
"At 7:20 pm on election day, shots were fired sporadically at the Nkanu West collation centre in Agbani, while the military stood aside and watched. Similar breaches of the law and subversion of the electoral process occurred across many locations in the state."