National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has written the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, urging him to replace electoral officials in Imo State ahead of the April 25 rescheduled governorship elections in parts of the state.
Mr. Oyegun said the APC may not take part in the election if the commission goes ahead to conduct the polls with the current set of electoral officials, whom he alleged have been “compromised”.
In a letter sent Monday, the APC chairman said the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Imo State was desperate to manipulate the election by attempting to order new vote in areas where results had already been declared, all in an effort to help the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, win.
“Our position is based on the fact that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo State erroneously and perhaps mischievously included areas where elections took place and results were collated, announced, declared and results sheets (Forms EC8A) issued to party agents, including agents of the PDP who signed the results sheets”, the APC said.
The election on April 11 was declared inconclusive by the Returning Officer, Prof. Ibidapo Obe, because the margin (79,529) between the frontrunner, APC’s Rochas Okorocha and his major contender, Ihedioha, was less than the number of registered voters (144,715) in wards where elections did not hold or were cancelled.
In his immediate reaction to the INEC’s position, Mr. Okorocha explained that the supplementary poll was unnecessary as what Prof. Obe should have taken into consideration was the number of Permanent Voter Cards collected in the affected areas, rather than number of registered voters.
“When you look at the number of PVC collected you find out that there is no need for this supplementary election because the number of PVC collected will be less than the 79,000 votes difference between me and the PDP candidate”, he said. “But now they are basing on the number of registered voters. Number of registered voters do not cast the vote; it is the number of PVC collected that does”.
The APC accused the Imo State electoral officials of complicity in what happened in Mbaise area of the state, where results declared were higher than the number of PVCs collected.
Mr. Oyegun said when the APC agent complained, the REC and the State Returning Officer merely directed the local government Returning Officer to revise the figures downwards.
He further alleged that INEC officials connived with the military in Mbaise Local Government Area and some other areas to cart away election materials, with which fictitious results were later written and admitted.
“In the light of the foregoing, we of All Progressives Congress (APC) have lost faith in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials in Imo State in their management of elections and hereby call on the chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to send a new Election Management Team to supervise and conduct the re-scheduled supplementary Imo gubernatorial elections”, the party said.