The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Imo State has accused the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of engineering the postponement of the rerun election for the Okigwe Senatorial Seat and Isiala Mbano State Constituency seat to frustrate the people of the zone as they did to the people of Oguta.
INEC had on Friday, the eve of the election, cancelled the election, citing violence and insecurity as the reason behind its action.
But, speaking with journalists weekend at the state party secretariat, Owerri, chairman of the party, Barrister Nnamdi Ayaehie, accused Governor Okorocha and his All Progressives Congress, APC, members of “forcing INEC to cancel the rerun election” because of their plan to ensure that Okigwe people do not have a representative in the senate as the governor allegedly did to Oguta in 2011.
According to him, against the Electoral Act, the governor made a state-wide broadcast on the eve of the postponed election, cajoling the electorate to vote for his party’s candidate, Ben Uwajumogu.
“This is the first time, a highly placed government official in the history of Nigeria, would try to subvert the rules and go out of his way to do this kind of unlawful act. The governor’s broadcast encouraged the youths of his party led by the state commissioner for Youths and Sports, Chidi Ibe, SA to the Governor on Youths, Kenneth Emelu, Deputy Chief of Staff, Kingsley Uju who is from Ohaji Egbema among other senior government officials who are not from Okigwe Zone.”, Anyaehie said.
He added that the youths led by the government officials that Friday evening barricaded the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with a truck load of laterite parked right in front of the main entrance of the Commission in protest of alleged manipulation of INEC officials by the PDP in the state.
The PDP chairman expressed surprise that security officials were purportedly overpowered by the action of the APC youths to the extent of saying they could not guarantee security for electoral officials and materials.
While reminding INEC officials of the compulsory 90 days duration for the rerun election, Anyaehie warned the commission not to let the Okigwe senate rerun election have a resemblance of the Oguta episode in 2011-2015.
He lamented that the state government had done more harm to the people of the state than the previous governors of the state put together.
Also speaking, the PDP candidate, Senator Athan Achonu said that the Okigwe rerun would be a test case for President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been hyping an anti-corruption mantra, and called on the president to use the election to prove his sincerity.
He warned that INEC must not use the ballot papers already exposed and that the new ballot papers must be produced before any election is conducted in the zone.
He insisted that no matter any trick the APC tried to deploy to rig the election, the people of the zone would match them equally and defeat them.
Achonu warned “Any INEC staff who tries to subvert the electoral process will have his pr her family mourning him because Okigwe people will not allow them to subvert the process”.