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Imo council election lacked legal backing, says ISIEC

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The Imo State Independent Election Commission (ISIEC) has declared the council election conducted by the immediate past government of Rochas Okorocha in the state as illegal.

It stressed that the over extra 300 polling units created by Okorocha government, which were used to conduct the poll, lacked legal backing, adding that the law that established them had long been repealed.

The ISIEC Chairman, Julius Onyenaucheya, who disclosed this to The Guardian in Owerri yesterday, stated that most of the existing election wards in the state do not have the requisite facilities that qualify them as wards.

He said the situation warranted the decision of the commission to embark on the delineation of the entire wards in the state with the view of ensuring they meet the requirements of the law.

“In 2004, there was an attempt to delineate election wards in the state; those wards that were delineated then do not have legal backing.

“Even the extra ones used by Rochas Okorocha’s administration is now illegal because the law that established them has been repealed.

“Also, going through the records, we found out that most of the so-called ISIEC wards have only three polling units with registration less than 1,000.

“For you to qualify to be delineated into a ward, you must have a population of 3,000; you must have a minimum of five polling units, a public school, a market, and a church.

“This is why we are going into the delineation of the existing ISIEC wards in the state. By so doing, we want to create wards with the requisite facilities.

“Also, if we delineate wards, we make wards inclusive around a few polling units, then people will vote and collation becomes easier for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Imo State Governor Emeka Ihedioha has expressed gratitude to the Supreme Court for striking out the case challenging his emergence as the state’s governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during last year’s primaries.

The immediate past senator, representing Imo East Senatorial Zone, Samuel Anyanwu, had challenged the process at the Supreme Court but the apex court yesterday dismissed the case for lacking merit.

The five-man panel presided over by Justice G. Okoro, which dismissed the suit and awarded N200,000 cost against Anyanwu, ruled that the issue of “fraud and over-voting and thuggery” as alleged by the appellant could not be proved.

It also held that the case ought not to get to the apex court after the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal in Owerri had dismissed it.

Ihedioha, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Chibuike Onyeukwu, described the declarative judgment as victory for democracy, reiterating his resolve to run an all-inclusive government in the state.


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