The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as the Labour Party (LP) in Imo state have rejected the declaration of the APC governorship candidate, Hope Uzodinma, as the winner of the November 11 election in the state.
The two parties, in a joint world press conference on Monday, presided over by Senators Samuel Anyanwu of the PDP and Athan Achonu of the LP, called on the electoral umpire (INEC) to either review the process or cancel the entire exercise.
Taking his turn, the LP candidate said the Saturday election was nothing more than a war zone where the over 25,000 military men deployed in Imo and saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a hitch-free exercise, were rather the ones intimidating voters and beating them up.
Achonu said that most of the INEC officials were intimidated by the heavy presence of the military who were under obligation to deliver the APC candidate, Hope Uzodinma.
“As far as i am concerned, there was no election on Saturday. What actually played out was a situation of military invasion where the voters and party agents belonging to the Labour Party and various others except the APC are intimidated, threatened and beaten to stupour.
“You all were witnesses to the gruesome battering of the state chairman of Labour Party by APC thugs right inside the state collation centre.
“It was a rude shock to me the level at which the security agents displayed and exhibited their alliance with the ruling APC. It was more like a military coupe. The security agents have raped our democracy. I am not blaming INEC because a good number of its officials also fell victim of the situation.
“Results were written at a Traditional Ruler’s house in Orlu and several other places. There were several cases of ballot box snatching and gunshots in Orlu and Okigwe zones which disenfranchised so many voters yet, INEC hurriedly declared someone in an election grossly marred with irregularities. This is unacceptable by Imo people.
“You recall that there were several calls put across to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on the partiality of Imo REC, Prof. Silvia Agu at the last general election but the appeals from Imo people met brick wall. If we cannot learn any good thing from revered professors, i mean academicians that command enormous respect, who else can we learn from?
“I appeal to INEC and Prof. Silvia Agu to redeem her image by speaking out and breaking free from the firm grip of the APC government. This anomaly has to stop and INEC and security agents should be entirely independent as they claim to be.
Speaking also, the PDP governorship candidate, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, said over 70% of votes cast in the election was not collated at the designated collation centres, wondering how a deserted LGA like Orsu which has as low as 250 accredited voters was able to produce 18,000 votes for the APC.
“The APC mischief makers had field day, rewriting results in their vehicles and at the residence of some of their party chieftains, sending whatever they have written to INEC.
“It’s a big shame that INEC which earlier promised to conduct a free, fair and credible election compromised by declaring results in an election that recorded so many electoral fraud like snatching of ballot boxes, intimidation of voters by the security agents and rewriting of results to favour the APC candidate.
“For the first time in the history of Imo election, a candidate is claiming to have won 27 over 27LGAs in Imo and the winner declared under one hour of collation. What is more laughable than this.
“The most shameful aspect is that Bayelsa with only 8LGAs took almost two days to collate results and announce the winner but Imo state has 27LGAs but INEC declared winner under one hour.
“We call on the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to rise up to the occasion and save democracy from its final collapse. The INEC should be more concerned that the exercise was characterised by unlawful activities of the APC supporters who drove in armoured personnel carriers, unleashing terror on eligible voters and battered the Labour party chairman, a lawyer and party agent, and got him unconscious. This happened at the state collation centre in full glare of publicity. Our democratic system cannot come this low! INEC has to do something and do it pretty quick to forestall a total collapse of our system.”
He further urged INEC to review the exercise or cancel it entirely, insisting that it would never be accepted by both parties and Imo people at large.