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Massive vote-buying was recorded in Saturday’s governorship election in Imo State amidst poor turn out of electorates.
The Eastern Updates reports that politicians and political party agents were seen trying to induce voters with cash and other gifts in Owerri Municipal, Owerri West, Mbaitoli, Owerri North, Isiala Mbano, Ideato North, among other local government areas in the state.
When armed criminals broke into voting places at All Saints Anglican Cathedral in Egbu, Owerri North Local Government Area, and attacked party agents who were exchanging cash to purchase votes, the situation reached a breaking point.
In addition, the more than ten gunmen stole more than N1.5 million that was being delivered to voters at the four polling places located on the cathedral grounds.
Eyewitnesses who witnessed the development, saw the gunmen shooting consistently before swooping on the men sharing the money.
While the shooting was ongoing, some security personnel attached to the place took to their heels, while INEC officials at the scene, lay down.
Voters, party agents and observers, including journalists also fled the voting centres.
The hoodlums went straight to the four points where the monies were being shared and snatched them away.
One of the party agents, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that each of the polling units in the place was given N1 million amounting to N4 million for the election.
‘But we had already shared a considerable amount of money before the boys struck. I only shared about N500,000 before the hoodlums struck’, he said.
The election also witnessed unimpressive voter turnout in most polling units, with only a few places where the participating major candidates hail from witnessing more voters exercising their franchise.
Though the election was generally peaceful contrary to the ugly expectations of pre-election pundits that the election would turn out to be a bloody one, there were reported cases of ballot snatching, diversion of electoral materials and officials and other forms of violence.
The Nation gathered that the low turnout of voters across the state was mainly due to the purported sit-at-home order issued by the leader of Biafra in Exile, Simon Ekpa.
However, vigilant security operatives successfully averted one of the attempts by political thugs to abduct INEC officials and seize crucial election materials.
Meanwhile, The Eastern Updates can confirm that Uzodinma has extended his lead in the ongoing Imo State governorship election, having secured victory in 12 of the state’s 27 local government areas.
Mr Uzodinma’s dominance in the election is evident from the significant margins of victory he has recorded in the local government areas so far declared.
In Oru West, his party, the APC, garnered 38,026 votes, while the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) received 1,867 and 987 votes, respectively.
Similar trends were observed in Njaba LGA, where the APC polled 8,110 votes, followed by the LP with 995 votes and the PDP with 2,404 votes.
In Owerri North, the APC maintained its lead with 8,536 votes, while the LP and PDP secured 4,386 and 3,449 votes, respectively.
Mr Uzodinma’s party also emerged victorious in Obowo LGA, Nwangele LGA, Owerri Municipal, Orsu LGA, Okigwe LGA, Ideato South, Onuimo LGA, Ngor-Okpala LGA, and Oru East.
Results from Obowo Local Government Area show that APC had 17,514 votes, LP: had 3,404, and PDP: had 711.
In Nwangele LGA, APC had 29, 282 votes; LP, 895 and PDP 2,132
For Owerri Municipal, the APC amassed 5,324 votes; LP scored 2,914 votes while the PDP bagged 2,180 votes.
In Orsu LGA, APC garnered 18,003 votes; LP, 813; while PDP 624
In Okigwe LGA, the APC had 55,585 votes; LP, 2,655 and PDP, 1, 688.
The ruling APC also emerged victorious in Ideato South where they scored 16, 891; LP 1, 649 and PDP 2,469
For Onuimo LGA, the APC polled 13, 434 votes; LP, 1,753 and PDP 2, 676.
In Ngor-Okpala, APC 14,143; LP, 2, 716, and PDP, 3, 451 while Oru East APC coasted to victory with 67, 315 votes; LP, 3,443 and PDP, 2,202.
With 12 local government areas under its belt, the APC appears to be in a strong position to retain control of Imo State.