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Okigwe Senate Seat: Heavy Protest Rocks INEC Hqtrs


*As youths reject written results, transfer of electoral chief * Uwajumogu calls for calm

Image: Imo State governor, Rochas okorocha

Heavy protests have rocked the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] headquarters over the weekend as some angry youths and women from Okigwe zone barricaded entry into INEC headquarters in Owerri, chanting solidarity songs.

They are demanding the immediate transfer of PDP card carrying members who camouflage as INEC officials and the immediate recall of the Head of Operations in the Commission, Barr. Osim.

It was gathered that Barr. Osim was summarily transferred on orders which allegedly emanated from the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja, twenty four hours to the election, without cogent reasons.

Investigation has it that Barr. Osim was immediately replaced by Mr. Benjamin Igwe, an indigene of Imo state, whom unconfirmed reports disclosed shares closed affinity with a former governorship candidate of the PDP.

The youths who protested with placards of various inscriptions were angered by the sudden tsunami of replacement being witnessed in the Commission, with less than few hours to the much awaited electoral contest.

They expressed concern that most of the INEC staff charged with the supervision and execution of the elections in Okigwe zone has allegedly compromised their offices in favour of the PDP.

They maintained that elections in the zone, must not only be free and fair, but must also live up to every electoral standard known by law.

They warned that any attempt to suppress or manipulate the general wishes of Okigwe people would be vehemently rejected with every force readily available.

INEC personnels that addressed the youths also expressed surprise on the sudden change of guard at the operations division of the Commission, arguing that it was shocking to see an indigene of the state head such a strategic position in the Commission at this period.

They however enjoined the youths to remain calm and law abiding, as the Commission would do everything within its powers to guarantee fairness in the rescheduled exercise.

Uwajumogu calls for calm

Following the indefinite postponement of the long awaited Okigwe zone senatorial re-run election by INEC, people of the zone have been urged to remain calm and as well, go about their lawful businesses pending the amicable resolution of the issues which necessitated the development.

Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the election, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu, who made this call shortly after the electoral umpire called-off the poll, also condemned negative perceptions of his opponents towards politics, describing it as highly and generally antithetical to the ethics of developmental politics globally.

In a message through his media office, the APC senatorial hopeful maintained that the postponement of the poll by INEC was just a mere set back to the total emancipation and direct re-connection of Okigwe zone and Ndigbo back to the mainstream national politics.

He added that it also represented the delay in the disastrous political defeat awaiting his opponents, whom he accused of hatching dangerous plans of deploying thugs and lethal objects to disrupt the long expected peaceful exercise.

The statement reads: “It is regrettable that some persons who had boasted in the past of winning elections based on popular support would descend so low to the extent of compromising some notorious elements in the Commission, who have overtime, made themselves malleable tools in the hands of desperate politicians with the sole intents of thwarting the collective mandates of Okigwe people”.

“It is still utterly confusing why our opponents, who never saw reasons of selling their already rejected candidate during the campaigns, would resort to political crudity of hounding our numerous supporters to kill, maim and destroy their houses and other properties.

The assassination attempt on Chief Chikwem Onuoha at his country home in Isiala Mbano, the kidnap of our member also in Isiala Mbano, as well as the killing of our member which took place in Okigwe local government, readily comes to mind”.

 “We sincerely thank God and the good people of Okigwe zone for thoroughly exposing their anti-democratic plans to write results and negatively influence the yet-to-be conducted poll, ballot box stuffing, as well as the illegal deployment of their henchman to further perfect their plans of rigging the total conscience of Ndi-Okigwe out”.

The APC candidate, who was also the former Speaker, Imo state House of Assembly, however, enjoined his numerous supporters to co-ordinate their actions and activities, regarding the postponed election within the ambit of the law, pointing out that indulging in inhuman and nefarious activities to grab political power does not worth it, as according to him “power comes from God and He gives to whoever He wishes”

Emeka Ahaneku

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