Imo indigenes travel to villages ahead of postponed elections
Expectations were high in Imo State as Nigerians thought they were going to elect a new president today.
To Imo indigenes, the election on Saturday was meant to determine the future of the country, which meant everybody had to contribute to ensure that things go according to plan.
However, the Independent National Electoral Commission in the early hours of Saturday announced the postponement of the elections till February 23.
There is a video message circulating among the people detailing what the South East stands to gain from voting the right candidate as president for the next four years and the people seem to have accepted that the future of the zone depends solely on the outcome of today’s exercise.
Consequently, most residents of Owerri, who are not registered in the Imo State capital, have been travelling to their villages to ensure they participate in the exercise.
According to Mr. Everest Anumunu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) official, who said he is from Mbaise, most of the people are registered in their villages and towns because they want to ensure they elect the right persons this year.
He told The Guardian that although the battle is mainly between President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, “it is also a test of the party officials’ popularity among their people.”
“Party members are judged according to their ability to deliver their wards and zones hence many of them are going back home to take charge of their wards. If you are not popular among your people you cannot command respect from your party members when the die is cast.”
At the Hope Uzodimma Campaign headquarters along Okigwe Road, All Progressives Congress (APC) members were sighted outside the offices waiting for the outcome of the party’s final meeting before the polls.
Uzodimma, who is APC’s governorship candidate in Imo State, was in a meeting with party officials for more than two hours, but left for his hometown in the Orlu zone of the state shortly after the meeting.
At the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) zonal office in Owerri yesterday, the factions presented two separate observers when INEC went to take delivery of voting materials.
It took the intervention of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Professor Francis Ezeonu to get the police to allow both party officers to join the other parties’ representatives as observers of the process.
Ezeonu explained that since the case between the factions was still in court some people would accuse him of being biased if he allowed only one of the factions to observe the exercise.
All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate Ifeanyi Ararume, also held an election sensitisation campaign at Agbaja Ward in Ehime Mbano Council, where he urged all registered voters to come out en masse to cast their votes.
APGA has no presidential candidate in the election, but Ararume used the opportunity to sell his ambition to the people.
Meanwhile, journalists in the state have threatened to boycott today’s elections following the Police refusal to accept them as observers when the CBN delivered election materials to INEC.
Some policemen at the CBN gate stopped journalists from joining independent observers to witness the handing over of the materials even when the REC had included reporters among the observation team.