The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Wednesday alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commissioner, INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the state, Professor Francis Ezeonu worked for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the last Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
Okorocha alleged that Ezeonu was brought to the state to return the PDP back to power.
Addressing youths who came on protest over the conduct of the 2019 elections in the state, at the Government House, in Owerri, the state capital, the governor accused Ezeonu of wrecking democracy in the State “with the worrisome manner he has handled the conduct of the 2019 elections in the State”.
According to Okorocha: “The REC has shown that he was brought to Imo after the 2015 election to return PDP to power in the state.
“The REC had acted illegally by ignoring the provision of the Constitution that makes it mandatory for a candidate to have 25% in 2/3 of the Local Governments in the State by announcing the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha who only met the requirement in 9 Local Governments instead of 18 LGAs which is 2/3 of 27 LGAs winner”.
The Governor also wondered why the REC should accept the outrageous figures from the three Local Governments Areas of Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ezinihitte, where the PDP candidate got 64,219 votes from Aboh Mbaise alone.
He stated that the figures from the three local government areas constituted 50 percent of the total votes got by the PDP candidate in the State with 27 LGAs.
Insisting that the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, AA, Uche Nwosu, won the election and had the required spread of 25% in 21 out of the 27 LGAs in the State, Okorocha said “the REC is working to set the state on fire”.
Okorocha also regretted that “the REC has become a willing tool in the hands of those fighting him, adding that for the REC to have ignored the Constitutional provision for the announcement of the winner of the governorship election only explains his desperation to announce the PDP Candidate winner.
“I say so because going by the actual calculation, the person that won this election is Ugwumba Uche Nwosu. Uche Nwosu won the election landslide, if you remove the manipulation results from Mbaise, Uche Nwosu won with over 50,000 votes, if you cannot declare him a winner because you have someone already, then they should go for a rerun because you cannot change the Constitution if the Federal Republic of Nigeria because you want to favour a candidate.
“In the course of this manipulation, we all observed that the REC decided not to use the collation officers from Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), which he disbanded for reasons he gave that they have met with politicians. Again, he brought some people whom he introduced from the University of Agriculture Umudike. They arrived just a night before the election date and we thought we have gotten the collation officers. Again, those ones were disbanded on the same reason that they have met with politicians, I wonder how this is possible having arrived the state after midnight on the election eve.
“Now the REC went to his own University in Awka to bring in collation officers. We believed him not knowing that he brought people he has been training for a hatched job for some weeks now in Anambra State to come and carry out this injustice in Imo State.
“These men arrived with heavy security from Anambra and went straight to the various Local Governments. We never knew that these were relatives of the PDP candidate and from the same Local Government. These are relatives of the PDP Candidate who were already briefed of what to do. This explains the over voting witnessed in Mbaise. Out of the 270,000 votes that he scored, 50% of it or over 130,000 all came from just three local governments of Mbaise.
“As far as I am concerned and we still maintain that REC has wrecked democracy in Imo State. Unfortunately for them, they were not smart enough to know that section 179 requires you to have a spread at least in 2/3 of the local governments before you can be declared a winner. They ended up with only 9 local governments instead of 18 required by law. The Returning Officer was advised by all the Senior Staff of INEC against declaring a winner without looking at the Constitution. This man in a hurry decided to announce the result against the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
“This is wrong, in doing so, the Returning Officer didn’t even consider the results cancelled, total voters cancelled in the different Polling Booths, was enough to declare the election inconclusive as the difference between the PDP and AA would have called for a supplementary election. With the speed with which he announced the result tells you that the man is part of the game. This again is unacceptable to all of us.
“It is obvious that this fight is targeted against me by some of those who have decided to fight me from Abuja. I am ready to take this fight as much as I can but don’t transfer this aggression you have against me to anybody associated with me, that I would not be acceptable. Allow the young men who won the elections to be so declared.”