In Imo State, the governorship election was trailed by forceful snatching of ballot boxes by thugs believed to be working for the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), just as there was low turnout of voters across the state.
There were also some complaints of vote buying by the APC.
At Uzuna Umu ward 1, booth 008 at Mgbidi in Oru West Local Government Area of Imo State, fisticuffs by the APC and PDP led to the temporary halting of the election in that polling unit.
A fight broke out after supporters of the PDP challenged the leaders of the APC from that ward who were alleged to be buying votes from the voters with N2,000.
A chieftain of the PDP, Joseph Ikpubundu from that ward who narrated the incident to our correspondent alleged that the APC was doing the same in other polling units in the local government.
Also, the guber candidate of the PDP, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, told newsmen shortly after casting his vote in his polling unit that the ruling party allegedly made away with the INEC ballot boxes in Orlu.
He said: “In Orlu, there were cases of ballot box snatching in about seven wards, but that doesn’t bother me because it will not deter me from winning.”
Similarly, the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Kemdi Chino Opara, alleged that there was vote buying by the APC.
The YPP candidate who has also not ruled out his chances of winning expressed disappointment at the alleged vote buying by the APC.
He claimed that the APC bought the electorate in his ward and some other areas in the state.
“The APC has been buying voters in polling units, but I know in my area, Mbaitoli, which has the highest number of electorate can’t go down to APC. I’m here and the PDP candidate is also there from Mbaike,” he said.
Another serious allegation of ballot box snatching was made by the Campaign Director General of the PDP governorship candidate, Evangelist Mike Ikoku at Obinocha hall in Nwangele Local Government Area of the state.
Ikoku alleged that the governor’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Chinasa Nwaneri, in company of some men wearing army uniforms came with an amoured carrier vehicle to snatch ballot boxes.
He also claimed that a personnel of the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) securing the voting area was harassed by Nwaneri who he also claimed said his phones and magazines as well as that of his colleague, Polycarp, was seized.
This is just as robbers who stormed the All Saints Anglican Church, Egbu in Owerri North council, suspected to have targeted agents of the All Progressive Congress (APC) made away with N1.5 million allegedly meant for vote buying.
The governorship polls recorded low turnout in many of the polling units in the state. For instance, at PU 012 Magistrate Court, Amaraku in Isiala Mbano LG, which has registered voters of 753, only 200 came for accreditation.
The Presiding Officer, Charles Iwuanyanwu, said that most voters did not come out to vote because of fear of insecurity in the state.
Similarly, in Nowa PU 032 Ward in Ihitte Uboma, it was discovered that out of the registered 506 voters about 150 voters came out to vote and this was the situation in most of the polling units.
However, in seven wards, election materials for the Orsu clan in Orlu local government were allegedly hijacked with the help of the police and moved to the palace of Eze Udo of Amaifeke who also doubles as the chairman of Imo State Council of Ndieze.
In Okigwe, all the election materials gathered at the stadium were moved to the local government secretariat where no other agent is allowed in except those of the APC.
No voting materials were sent to Okwelle 1 and 2, instead voting materials were allegedly diverted to Okwelle Police Station where APC agents were alleged to be thumb printing and writing results.
Also, in seven polling booths in Imoko ward, eight polling booths in Izuoga ward 2, 24 polling booths in Iheme ward, were all hijacked and taken to somewhere in Akokwa, where APC members were alleged to be busy writing the results.
It the same manner, at Akokwa in Ideato North, electoral materials were allegedly hijacked and diverted to the house of one chieftain of the APC.
It was gathered that all the voting materials from the four wards in Arondizuogu clan were taken to the APC chieftain and that they were given cover by the security agents, including the Civil Defence, army and police personnel who used 10 Hilux vans to block the roads to give them cover.
Gov Uzodimma lauds exercise
Earlier, Governor Hope Uzodimma after voting at his Omuma ward in Oru West Local Government Area of the State expressed happiness at the conduct of the election.
According to him, the election was peaceful contrary to the expectations of most analysts who he said had predicted a war.
“I’m happy the election has proved them wrong contrary to what they think it was going to be, most of them have thought it was going to be a war zone, but it was not and I’m impressed,” the governor said.
Achonu, LP candidate, optimistic of winning
The Labour Party gubernatorial candidate, Senator Athan Achonu, expressed optimism of emerging victorious in the poll.
Achonu said that Imo people yearning for a change found the Labour Party and his eventual victory as the solution to Imo problems.
He stated this immediately after casting his vote at Numo Primary School, Umuchoke Umunomu, booth 008, in Ehime-Mbano LGA of Imo State.
According to him, the manner with which voters conducted themselves was impressive and speaks volume of a community that is ready to produce the next governor of the state.
“The process is smooth at the moment. I have just cast my vote and as you can see, the voters are calm and have refused to be bought over. They know what they want.
“The truth remains that Imo people are tired of bad governance. They are tired of going hungry as a result of the APC misrule. And today, they have thronged out in their numbers to make a strong statement. They have all chosen the Labour Party as an alternative to solve the Imo problems,” he said.
On the electoral umpire, he said that the right thing should be done, insisting that the APC would not have their way, following the clamour by Imo people for change.
He expressed satisfaction at the turnout of voters, describing it as a show of love for him and the Labour Party.
State LP chairman accuses APC of hijacking electoral materials
The Imo State Chairman of Labour Party (LP) , Calistus Ihejiagwa, accused the members of the All Progressives Congress in the state of allegedly hijacking the electoral materials meant for four Wards in the Ideato North Local Government Area of the state.
The LP chairman also accused security agents of aiding and abetting the APC in the criminal act.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Ihejiagwa alleged that APC members hijacked and diverted the materials to the house of one of the chieftains of the party.
He also accused the security agents of aiding and abetting the APC members to hijack and divert the materials.
He said: “Rigging is ongoing now by APC at Akokwa in Ideato North LGA at the house of an indigene of the area.
“They hijacked all the voting materials from the four Wards in Arondizuogu clan and are voting with it there.
“They have about 10 Hilux vehicles with police, army and NSDC. They blocked the roads and are giving APC cover as they rig the election
“Secondly, Governor Hope Uzodimma is moving around here in Ideato North LGA with heavy security men. Right now he is at the INEC office Urualla inside the council headquarters manipulating INEC people.”
But the spokesperson for the APC in the state, Cajetan Duke, said that there was no truth in the allegations.
He said that the APC members are conducting themselves well in the election..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>