Charles Ugwu, the Imo state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party has accused Governor Hope Uzodinma of rigging as Independent National Electoral Commission declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Blyden Amajirionwu the winner of the Ngor Okpala House of Assembly bye-election held on Saturday.
Announcing the results of the election on Sunday, the returning officer, Dennis Akor, said that the APC got 9,248 votes to beat its closest rival, Jeff Nwachukwu of the PDP, who got 7,071 votes.
But briefing journalists after the results were announced, Mr. Ugwu called on INEC to cancel the election, alleging that the commissioner of police in the state, Rabiu Hussaini, aided APC in rigging the election.
Calling on INEC, he said, “Outrightly cancel the Saturday, February 26, 2022 bye-election in Ngor Okpala, as any outcome from such a barbaric invasion and warfare will only reflect the manipulations of Hope Uzodinma and his band of electoral fraudsters, and not the will of Ngor Okpala people.”
The PDP chairman added, “On the eve of the election, Hope Uzodinma personally mobilized truckloads of security agencies – police, DSS, Navy, Airforce armed thugs and Hopism Strike Force to invade Ngor Okpala LGA and unleashed mayhem on the electorate.
“These armed groups operated freely, maiming, shooting sporadically, abducted staff of INEC and agents of the PDP, and carted away electoral materials and result sheets. It was a clear case of declaration of war on the people of Ngor Okpala. a total invasion in one of the freest and fairest elections in the history of the Local Government.
“It is pressing to highlight and roundly condemn the partisan and complicit actions of the soon-to-retire Imo State Commissioner of Police, Hussain Rabiu, a known accomplice of Hope Uzodimma.
“Rabiu led the combined teams of armed thugs, security operatives and Uzodimma Strike Force that also provided cover for appointees of Uzodinma, members of the Imo State House of Assembly and members of House of Representatives of APC, invaded polling units in most parts of the Constituency leaving many half-dead in the pool of their own blood.
“CP Rabiu also aided in the illegal coercion of collation officers at private residences and the Sentiero Hotel located along the Airport Road.
“In over fifty polling units, out of 193 Polling Units, electoral materials were forcefully carted with INEC ad hoc staff taken to Sentiero Hotel along the Sam Mbakwe Airport Road to thumbprint ballot papers and write results in favour of the APC.”
But the APC publicity secretary in the state, Cajethan Duke, pushed back, saying the PDP was crying foul because it failed in its attempts to manipulate the process.