Listen to article
A coalition of civil society groups in Imo State on Monday alleged plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to manufacture results for the Imo governorship election in favour of Governor Hope Uzodinma who is seeking a re-election.
In a joint press conference held in Enugu which was monitored by The Eastern Updates, the groups, including the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) and Coalition of Democracy and Human Rights Organisations, claimed they had evidence that INEC had no plan to organise a free, fair and credible election in Imo.
Emeka Umeagbalasi who is the Chairman of the board of trustees of Intersociety, who addressed the press conference, claimed that the winner of the November 11 election in Imo, if conducted freely and fairly, would not score more than 90,000 to 130,000 votes out of total lawful votes cast of not more than 300,000.
‘We arrived at this projection after considering the fears, chaos and bloodletting that have gripped the state since January 2021, in which more than half of the state’s 27 local government areas are deeply affected,’ he said.
Umeagbalasi stated that 1.8 million (out of the state’s 2.4 million PVC holders) of the registered voting population had been displaced from their voting areas, leaving Imo with only 600,000 eligible voters, out of which 300,000 may vote.
‘Unless extreme lawful measures are timely taken, Nigerians and other international democracy watchers should expect the return of the incumbent as the winner who polled 500,000 to one million votes,’ Umeagbalasi said.
He noted that the coalition had written letters to critical stakeholders, including the inspector general of police, the national security adviser, the chief of army staff, the director-general of the State Security Service, the INEC chairman and the chief of defence staff.
Umeagbalasi, however, regretted that none of the issues raised in the letters, such as the need to ensure that collation centres are outside the arenas under the influence of the Imo government, timely overhaul of some security departments in the state and the provision of security for Imo voters and protection of their votes, “strongly suggesting that there are plans to harvest and write results for the incumbent governor in the state.”
Umeagbalasi maintained that the coalition’s interest in the Imo election is to ensure transparency, fairness, and the protection of human rights following the January 14, 2020, supreme Court’s verdict that installed Uzodimma as governor.