How ‘cash-and-carry’ agents ruined Imo guber election

Reasons for the cancellation of some results of the Governorship and State Assembly elections in some areas of Imo State have now been revealed.

Investigations disclosed that some party agents at various polling booths and collation centres sold out to the highest bidder and looked the other way while the results were manipulated in favour of some parties.

Some agents, it was alleged, ‘sold’ their official tags at mouthwatering amounts of money and vacated their duty posts for the manipulation to sail through.

A source disclosed to our reporter that some got up to N450,000 each.

The brisk business of exchange of cash for party loyalty featured in most local government areas and was not limited to any particular political party.

As a result, conflicting figures inundated the Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC) centres while the social media were awash with these fictitious results.

Other reasons, apart from ballot box snatching and stuffing, were that food and cash were freely distributed to voters as inducement by the parties, an act that violates the electoral laws.

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho, and his United Peoples Party (UPP) counterpart, Dr. Desmond Ukanacho, asked for a re-run of the election, which has been fixed for April 25.

Captain Ihenacho declared: “as far as I am concerned, Imo election is a sham”.

But Governor Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a statewide broadcast, called on INEC to declare him winner.

He also said that his party was ready for a re-run in case the electoral body thinks otherwise.

“Victory may be delayed, not denied”, he said, adding that the victory will be dedicated to Imo people irrespective of political affiliation.

Members of the Imo Youth Council (IYC) led by the president, Mr. Jeff Nwoha, carried out a demonstration in favour of the governor, arguing that the figures so far released had put him on top.

They displayed placards which read “INEC declare Owelle Rochas as winner of Aril 11 election”, INEC please give us our God given mandate etc, at the Government House, Owerri.

The INEC, in the confusion, declared the election inconclusive.

Last Tuesday, Owerri, the state capital, witnessed skirmishes of political unrest over the disputed figures and struggle over who was the winner, mainly between candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Around the auto market on Egbu/Naze road, Agbala and Ulakwo, some of the political foot soldiers sustained injuries in clashes.

Tension was, however, quelled by the local vigilante, according to reports, where it was also argued that Hon. Dan Ikpeazu of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) won the Owerri West Seat for the House of Assembly. The election was also declared inconclusive.

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