The Accredited Election Observers of the Independence National Electoral Commission, have called on the INEC, to the last Saturday’s governorship election in the Imo state.
The call was made by the cross-section of observers led by the Director of Operations, She for She Initiative for Women and Girl Child, Kenneth Umez, while speaking to newsmen in Owerri, on the controversies surrounding the November 11 governorship election in Imo state.
The following council areas among others, where alleged massive irregularities, election not only but electoral materials were hijacked as well as issues of overvoting, vote buying and physical assault, include the Okigwe, Orsu, Orlu, Ehime Mbano, Ikeduru, Oru East, Oru West, Owerri West, Ideato North, and Ideato South.
The observers said: “The election was marred by irregularities characterized by vote buying and physical attacks on persons who were out to exercise their franchise.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission needs to address the people of Imo and the generality of Nigerians as to why voting was carried out in many polling units without the use of the BVAS meant for accreditation of voters.
“In several instances, security agencies were complicit as observed and shown in several viral videos where they compromised their duties of ensuring credible Election. By that, they aided and abetted the massive rigging as witnessed in the Imo State election. In one instance, a voter was attacked in an attempt to expose open-day vote buying with cash. That INEC is hereby urged to provide answers as to why Elections did not hold in many PU’s in this instance, we observed that in 9 of the polling units, there were no Election in ORSU LGA
“That INEC may have exhibited flaws in many areas, one of which is outright relocation without notice to voters. In Orsu LGA, voters were not informed of INEC’s plan to conduct cluster elections, hence many voters were disenfranchised. The question INEC must answer is who are those that voted in Orsu? Are they from Orsu or strangers?
“That in Okigwe LGA we observed that no result sheet was delivered to polling centres in all the eleven wards in Okigwe LGA. We also observed that the election did not occur in Eight polling units in the same election. The INEC and police authorities in Okigwe may have to explain where the collation for Okigwe LGA was done.
“We also witnessed that in Ehime Mbano, Ikeduru, Ideato North, among others witnessed desperate ballot box snatching as ball boxes were snatched and delivered to the fortresses of political party actors in the area.”
“Other areas observed without election are Oru-East LGA, Ideato-North, Ikeduru, Oru West and Owerri West LGA.
“We also observed that Ward Collation was not done in the wards as promised by INEC before the election. Especially in the Okigwe Zone, Orlu Zone and almost all parts of the state. Specifically, In Emekuku Ward 1, the INEC ward collation officer disappeared from the Emekuku High School collation centre. Some security agents appeared from nowhere, shooting into the air, tear-gassed the environment whisked away the INEC staff and made away with the results.
“We notice with utmost dismay as to why there was an upload of results from EC8A from various polling units where the Election did not hold yet it was seen on the IREV. In over 2000 polling units results as uploaded and seen in the IREV, the total number of votes allocated to candidates was higher than the actual number of accredited voters, which in all totality demerits the integrity of the Imo Governorship Elections. We, therefore, call for total cancellation of the November 11, 2023 Imo State Governorship Election,” They said.
Among other observers groups, the “New Dawn for Development Initiatives, International Women and Youth Revival Initiative, Global Hope and Justice for the Less Privileged, Citizens Right for Peace and Good Leadership Initiative, Centre for Child Care and Youth Development, Women with Disabilities of Nigeria Support Foundation, Women and Youth Empowerment for Global Change Initiative.”