Tension as Imo REC ignores CP’s order to stop announcement of results
• Speaker, seven other PDP members join APC as Alagboso wins rerun poll
• Pockets of violence marred exercise, INEC admits
There was tension yesterday at the Imo State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Owerri, as Commissioner of Police (CP), Bolaji Fafowora, ordered the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Professor Francis Ezeonu to stop announcing results of a rerun election.
Fafowora had stormed the venue of collation of results for the Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal Constituency rerun poll and ordered the suspension of the results, at which point most people in the Professor Okey Ibeanu Hall, venue of the collation, for fear of what the directive could cause
However, Ezeonu addressed party agents, observers and journalists on the presence of some national commissioners from Abuja.
The CP was quoted as saying he was carrying out a court order to stop the announcement of results, but despite the pressure, Ezeonu refused to adhere to the directive, saying, “Please allow me to do my job. Please allow us to do our job.”
Fafowora, who cited invasion of the Orlu collation centre by thugs, however, left after the REC’s screaming, just as INEC Commissioner for South-South, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, explained the guidelines to the CP before the announcement of reults proceeded.
As at the time of filing this report, collation was still ongoing as only results of two of four polling units were announced, while the two others were voided for over voting.
Also, of 1,386 registered voters, 576 voters were accredited. The All Progressives Congress (APC) scored 464 votes, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 99 votes.
More collation was going on as at the time of filing this report.
Besides, Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Dr. Chiji Collins (Isiala Mbano Constituency) and seven other PDP lawmakers have defected to the APC.
Those who defected last week were from the Action Alliance (AA), PDP and APGA. APC now has 17 members in the 27-member Assembly.
Yesterday’s defectors are, Dominic Ezerioha (Oru West), Chigozie Nwaneri (Oru East), Kanayo Onyemaechi (Owerri West), Kennedy Ibeh (Obowo), Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru), Michael Njoku (Ihitte Uboma) and Eddy Obinna (Aboh Mbaise).
Ogbuagu, who is Chairman, House Committee on Planning and Budget, expressed his decision in a letter to the Speaker, alleging unfair treatment by his former party.
Meanwhile, INEC has declared Jerry Alagboso of the PDP winner of last Saturday’s re-run election for Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal Constituency conducted in 18 polling units.
The Returning Officer, Dr. Emma Anakuba, said Alagboso polled 22,475 votes to defeat his APC rival, Edwin Iheanacho, who scored 20,814 votes.
The commission, however, admitted that the re-run elections were marred by pockets of violence in some areas adding that the isolated cases of irregularities minimally affected the exercise in four of the 28 constituencies.
National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said the electoral umpire witnessed an improvement in compliance with its processes and procedures during the polls.
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