Angry reactions have continued to trail last weekend’s sudden rescheduling of the re-run elections for Okigwe senatorial seat and some state constituency seats in Imo State.
Addressing a news conference in Owerri, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Imo State, accused the state government, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and security agencies in the state of complicity in the aborted re-run election earlier scheduled to hold last Saturday.
“The postponement of the scheduled polls was the handiwork of the state government, whose top officials recruited miscreants and street urchins and stormed INEC premises midday with dangerous weapons and blocked the entrance gate with a heavy duty truck”, the State PDP Chairman, Chief Nnamdi Anyaehie, fumed.
Continuing, Anyaehie said: “It beats our imagination and the minds of all right thinking individuals, how such an ugly incident could successively be accomplished in the presence of fully armed security personnel, including soldiers, and yet nobody was arrested.”
The Imo PDP boss, who also took exception to Governor Rochas Okorocha’s broadcast, which was aired on the airways of Imo Broadcasting Corporation, IBC, a day to the aborted re-run election, during which he urged the electorate to vote for All Progressives Congress, APC, candidates, dismissed this as a brazen abuse of office.
Speaking also, the PDP candidate for Okigwe senatorial seat, Chief Athan Nneji Achonu dismissed the indefinite postponement of the re-run election as laughable.
In its own reaction, Legislative Watch, a non-governmental organization, has equally accused Okorocha of masterminding the botched re-run polls.
According to a press statement signed by the Executive Secretary of Legislative Watch, Hon. Ngozika Ihuoma, the group said it was shocked at the way government officials led irate youths to barricade INEC gate, which led to its postponement.
“Why must INEC dance to the ugly tune of the APC because the Governor and his political party are afraid that the PDP was having an upper hand in the contest? This is no longer the practice democracy”, Ihuoma said.
Confirming the storming of the Owerri INEC Office, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okorocha, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, said “it has come to the knowledge of the state Government that youths operating on the aegis of All Progressive Congress, APC, Youths, stormed the Owerri office of INEC as early as 7.00a.m. Friday, February 19, 2016, to protest over certain developments with regard to the re-run election for Okigwe zone Senatorial seat and two state constituencies in the state”.
Although he did not explain the looming presence some government appointees, who were seen piloting the activities of the youths, Onwuemeodo however reported that the APC Youths Leader, Comrade Jeff Nwoha, who addressed the people, demanded among other things that “all the Electoral Officers, EOs, listed for the election were also those used to rig the 2015 elections for PDP in the state, and demanded that they should all be dropped”.