Indigenes of some communities in Ohaji/Egbema Local Council in Imo State have protested to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s Office in Owerri, demanding cancellation of Saturday’s elections in the area. Leader of the protesters, Emma Okwudiri, said they want free, fair and credible polls, as promised by the electoral body.
He alleged that several of the materials that were brought to the area were missing, while those that came arrived late, leading to the disenfranchisement of many voters with their valid Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
But Chief Press Secretary to Governor Rochas Okorocha, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, accused Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Imo gubernatorial candidate, Emeka Ihedioha of sponsoring some persons in uniform to disrupt elections in Mbutu, Aboh Mbaise ward, dispossessing officers of result sheets.
But Ihedioha’s aide dismissed the allegation, urging the petitioner to be mindful of allegations against the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
They said Ihedioha was a thorough breed politician, who respects the laws of the land.
In a petition to the Imo Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Onwuemeodo, accused the Electoral Officer (EO) of the council of working with the politician to seek cancellation of the exercise in the area.
Also, a former governor of Imo State and Accord Party (AP) gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim, expressed dismay over non-arrival of INEC officials and voting materials in his ward till after 1pm on Saturday.
Ohakim, who spoke to journalists at his polling booth in Umunuma Ward II, said the situation was either a sign of incompetence on INEC’s part or a ploy to sabotage the election.
He enjoined INEC to improve so that the situation would not be repeated during the governorship election of March 9, 2019.
Meanwhile, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship standard-bearer, Ifeanyi Araraume, expressed worry over late arrival of materials in his Isiebu Ward.
He said, “Voting did not start here till around 1pm and if some wards have not received election materials till that time, INEC didn’t start well.”