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Mr. Callistus Ihejiagwa who is the Chairman of the Labour Party in Imo, has come out to allege that those who beat him up and threw him out of the collation centre during the announcements of the results of the state governorship election early Sunday were thugs of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ihejiagwa who made this known on Monday morning while rejecting the declaration of Governor Hope Uzodinma as the winner of the election added that the thugs stole the sum of $1000 and N50,000 from him.
He bemoaned the fact that the police had not only arrested and jailed him but had also declined to step in to address his complaints about the way the election was conducted, even though he had been attacked for it.
Ihejiagwa noted that in line paragraph 48, sub-paragraphs A and B of the electoral guideline, before the commencement of final collation had petitioned INEC over the manner of accreditation of voters but his petition fell on deaf ears as the commission proceeded to collate.
He alleged that when he insisted that collation be halted for his party’s petition to be heard, he was accused of disrupting the process and beaten up by thugs of the All Progressives Congress in the presence of security agents.
‘Paragraph 48, sub-paragraphs A and B of the electoral guideline says that collation shall not be done until the Returning Officer confirms that accreditation has been done in line with the provisions of the law.
‘This section of the law was contravened and we were denied the inalienable right to a fair hearing despite several calls for our petition to be heard almost two hours before the start of collation.
”But the Returning Officer, Prof. Abayomi Fasina insisted that he could not entertain the petition.
‘With the RO’s insistence, thugs of the APC beat me up, threw me out of the hall and robbed me of 1,000 dollars and another N50,000 which I had on me.
‘Police officers, one of whom I identified as SP Amaechi Kennedy, rather than arrest those who assaulted me, took me to the police station where I was eventually detained in a cell and only released by 11.00 am on Sunday after the announcement of the result, for a crime I was never told,’ he said.
Ihejiagwa said the LP had all the evidence of the assault which happened on live TV during collation and would take appropriate measures to seek justice for all the matters raised.
He expressed dismay over what he described as the inability of security personnel to protect him in the collation centre and INEC’s failure to hear his petition, insisting that the LP’s candidate, Sen. Athan Achonu won the election and would prove it in court.
Ihejiagwa said the election was characterized by “attacks, intimidation and stiff opposition to the will of the masses”, describing the announced result as unacceptable.