Security worries as INEC plans for Imo North senatorial poll
There are growing concerns from Imo North residents that the October 31 senatorial bye-election in the area could be marred by violence.
The position became vacant after Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) slumped and died last year.
The outcomes of the primary elections of the two major parties for the polls – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC – are still being disputed.
While the APC held a parallel primary that produced Chief Frank Ibezim and Chief Ifeanyi Ararume, the declaration of Chief Chris Okewulonu as the winner of the September 5 PDP primary is being challenged by the runner-up Patrick Ndubueze at the Owerri High Court.
With tension running high in the area ahead of the election, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Francis Ezeonu, who spoke to journalists in Owerri on Monday, said that consultations were on to ensure the protection of life and property during the polls.
Ezeonu, who regretted that the commission would have no full control over the security officials for the election, expressed confidence that the exercise would be peaceful.
According to him, voting will take place in 692 polling booths in the six councils making up the senatorial district.
He named the councils as Okigwe, Onuimo, Ihitteuboma, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, and Obowo.
The REC said they would engage ad hoc workers and deploy them to the district for the election.
According to Ezeonu, the commission will insist that those for the exercise abide by the COVID-19 protocols prescribed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the World Health Organisation (WHO.
Ezeonu said: “Each of them (polling booths) will have a digital thermometer and any voter and official without a face mask will not be allowed in. We are going to maintain social distancing.”
He said his office had yet to receive the list of candidates for the election, except the political parties.
The REC promised that information about the election would get to the public regularly.
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