Eight civil society organisations who were accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to monitor the just concluded Imo State governorship election held last Saturday have called for an outright cancellation of the poll.
The groups in a press conference in Owerri, the state capital, on Wednesday, said that the poll was hugely compromised.
The groups are; New Dawn for Development Initiatives, She for She Initiative for Women and Girl Child, International Women and Youth Revival Initiative, Global Hope and Justice for the Less Privileged, Citizens Right for Peace and Good Leadership Initiative, Centre for Child Care and Youth Development, Women with Disabilities of Nigeria Support Foundation and Women and Youth Empowerment for Global Change Initiative.
Kenneth Umez, Director of Operations, She for She Initiative for Women and Girl Child, who read out the text of the press conference, said that elections were manipulated in about 2000 polling units across the state.
He said “that the election was marred by irregularities characterised by vote buying
and physical attacks on persons who were out to exercise their franchise.
“That the Independent Nation Electoral Commission needs to address the people of Imo and generality of Nigerians as to why voting was carried out in many polling units without the use of the BVAS meant for accreditation of voters.
“In several instances, security agencies were complicit as observed and shown in several viral videos where they compromised their duties of ensuring credible Election. By that they aided and abated the massive rigging as witnessed in the Imo State election.
“In one instance, a voter was attacked in an attempt to expose open day vote buying with cash.
“That INEC is hereby urged to provide answers as to why Elections did not hold in many PUs in this instance, we observed that in 9 of the polling units there were no Election in ORSU LGA
“That INEC may have exhibited flaws in many areas, one of which is outright relocation without notice to voters. In Orsu LGA, voters were not informed of INEC’s plan to conduct cluster election, hence many voters were disenfranchised. The question INEC must answer is who are those that voted in Orsu? Are they from Orsu or strangers?
“That in Okigwe LGA we observed that no result sheet was delivered to polling centres in all the eleven wards in Okigwe LGA. We also observed that election did not occur in Eight polling units in same election. The INEC and police authorities in Okigwe may have to explain where the collation for Okigwe LGA was done.
“We also witnessed that in Ehime Mbano, Ikeduru, Ideato North, among others witnessed desperate ballot box snatching as ball boxes were snatched and delivered to the fortresses of political party actors in the area.
“That other areas observed without election is Oru-East LGA, Ideato-North, Ikeduru, Oru West and Owerri West LGA.
“We also observed that Ward Collation was not done in the wards as promised by INEC before the election. Especially in Okigwe Zone , Orlu zone and in almost parts of the state. Specifically, In Emekuku ward 1, the INEC ward collation officer disappeared from the Emekuku High School collation center. Some security agents appeared from no where, shooting into the air, tear gassed the environment and whisked away the INEC staff and made away with the results.
“That we notice with utmost dismay as to why there was upload of results from EC8A from various polling units where Election did not hold yet it was seen on the IREV.
“In over 2000 polling units results as uploaded and seen in the IREV, the total number of votes as allocated to candidates were higher than the actual number of accredited voters, which in all totality demerits the integrity of the Imo Governorship Elections.
“We, therefore, call for total cancelation of the November 11, 2023 Imo State Governorship Election.”