Returning Officer for the Abia State Governorship election 2023, Prof. Nnenna Oti has revealed that she was threatened and at the same time offered a financial inducement to manipulate the election results, but she refused to compromise.
Prof Oti, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo State, had at some point refused to collate results of some local council area, particularly that of Obingwa over irregularities during the March 18 election.
Her refused had reportedly led to suspension of collation and announcement of the governorship results on Monday, 20th March by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Commission later resumed collation on Wednesday, 22nd March 2023 when the Labour Party candidate, Dr Alex Otti, was finally declared the winner of the election.
Oti’s refusal to manipulate the election result against what was considered the popular will of the Abia electorate, earned a lot of public commendations as observed on social media
Speaking during her grand reception in FUTO on Tuesday where thousands of students and members of staff gathered, Prof who is also a cleric, said she refused to be induced or intimidated and insisted that under her watch, the people’s vote must count.
“As an electoral officer, I have never in my life, never participated in any election. They kept calling and calling. I made my inquiries from Abuja and I said if I perish, I will perish. They came with their threats, they came with their money, and they came with their intimidation but I didn’t yield to their threats. I am unshakable that I didn’t start today.
“I stand here before God, Jesus Christ I have never defrauded anyone and I declared a riot act as follows: that under me votes must count. That under me the people’s mandate must be upheld because Prof Nnenna Oti, a mother of three children, a wife of Nnanna Oti, a daughter of Afikpo, the daughter of Ebonyi State, the daughter of Ndigbo and the daughter of Nigeria, can never do evil,” Oti stated while addressing the crowd that gathered to welcome her back after the election.
The visibly elated students were seen cheering her as she match to her office with other members of staff of the University.