20 observer groups allege fraud in Imo North Senatorial poll
• Say their conscience pricking them
About two months after the presidential and National Assembly elections, 20 civil society organisations under the aegis of Coalition of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Accredited Domestic Election Observers have alleged that the outcome of Imo North Senatorial poll was marred by falsification of results.
According to the organisations, they had to speak up, because they were disturbed by their conscience.
The groups are Grassroots Development and Peace Initiative; Initiative for Peace, Humanity and Social Advancement for Women; Youth Education on Human Rights and Civic Responsibilities; Centre for Development and Transformation Initiative; Future Leaders Global Initiative, among others.
Team Lead of the Coalition, Victor Kalu, who addressed journalists in Abuja, yesterday, noted that as foot soldiers accredited by INEC and stakeholders, they were miffed by how the results turned out as announced by INEC.
Kalu said: “The Coalition of INEC Accredited Domestic Election Observers for Nigeria’s General Elections 2023, having observed the presidential and National Assembly elections in Imo State, wishes to express dissatisfaction with the outcome of the National Assembly elections, especially the Imo North Senatorial election and, particularly in Okigwe Council.
The Imo North Senatorial District comprises six councils: Obowo, Ihitte Uboma, Ehime Mbano, Onuimo, Okigwe and Isiala Mbano.
“To the best of our knowledge and understanding, the result of the Imo North Senatorial District, as announced by INEC, was at variance with collated results at the polling units and the collation centres.
“Worse still, about seven wards and communities had no elections.
“While we commend INEC for considerable efforts at some other places where elections held successfully, we differ to say that Okigwe Council was a different case.
“Elections did not take place in towns and communities such as Okigwe, Ihube, Ezinnachi, etc.
“So, as INEC observers who were present at the polling units and collation centres, our consciences are pricked by this apparent electoral aberration and fraud, where real winners are mysteriously replaced by runners up along the way.”
Noting that the situation is a general phenomenon in the state, he noted that of Imo North, particularly, Okigwe, was heartrending and capable of worsening the tension in the zone.
He added: “There is no doubt that in the last election, INEC did not live up to its promise of delivering the freest and fairest election ever in Nigeria.