From Angela Nkwo-Akpolu, Owerri
Apparently not ready to accept defeat during the ward and local government congress of the All Progressive Congress APC in Imo State, Governor Rochas Okorocha yesterday said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has adjudged the process as faulty and characterized with irregularities.
This is even as the Commission’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Imo State, Mrs Ben could not confirm the supposed report.
Governor Okorocha had in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemodo said INEC has confirmed their Contention that the sensitive materials including the result sheets, for the Congress were not provided.
According to the Governor, the supposed report signed by the Commission’s Administrative Secretary in the State, Barr T. O. N Ongele also confirmed that the exercise was characterised “in its entirety with confusion and controversies as reported by the officers that monitored the Congress at the various Wards and Local Government Areas”.
Further he said, “On the conduct of the Congress, the report stated “the State Chairman of the Party, Dr Hillary Ekeh in his letter to the REC had indicated that the list of presiding officers, returning and electoral officers for the Congress in the various wards will be duly submitted to the REC’s office few hours before the election”.
According to Okorocha, the report read, “In some of the LGAs, the INEC monitors reported that result sheets were not provided for the Congresses and in some, electoral personnel were not seen. In some other instances, the INEC monitors were told on arrival that the Congress had been concluded. In some other LGAs there was no evidence that the Congress took place”.
He said the INEC report also contained reports from individual Local Governments in the State, saying “For instance, the Electoral officer for Mbaitoli LGA, Odilinye Mary Ngozi in her report dated May 7th 2018, which she sent to the REC through the Administrative Secretary wrote, “sequel to the directive given by the Department of Election and Party monitoring to monitor the Ward Congress of APC at the 12 wards in Mbaitoli LGA scheduled to hold on 5th May, 2018, I thereby redeployed the Staff to the various venue of the Congress which was at each ward Party offices to monitor the exercise”.
The Electoral Officer was said to have written that “the Staff on reaching to the different Party offices discovered that they were all locked up. The Electoral Officer called and asked them to move to Collation Centres. A point should be made that no result sheets or names of Planning Committee members or list of nominated Candidates were issued. No document of any kind had been given”.
“For Isiala Mbano LGA, the Electoral Officer, Mr Okike Emeka in his report stated, “The All Progressives Congress, (APC) Ward Congress scheduled to hold at the various wards in Isiala Mbano LGA on the 5th May 2018, was marred with Controversies as reported by our Staff that were at the various venues to monitor the 12 Wards in the LGA during the Congress. There was no fixed time for the Congress and this left most people in the dark”, Okorocha said.
He continued, “We were told that from our letter that the Congress will take place at various ward Party offices, but the pictorial evidences showed that most party offices were under lock and keys. I wish to reiterate that internal democracy is the backbone of real democracy. Political Parties should always strive to play by the rule of the game and should try and resolve their differences before going for Congresses or elections as the case may be”.
Meanwhile, when contacted, INEC PRO, Mrs Ben said she was yet to be briefed by the Commission on the said report and asked for time.
However, spirited efforts to reach her thereafter proved abortive as she did not take the several calls put across to her.