An accredited election monitoring and observer group, the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has raised the alarm over what it called the history of election rigging by the All Progressives Congress in Imo state.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous judgement delivered on Wednesday upturned the electoral mandate of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate in last March governorship election, Emeka Ihedioha and asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, ( INEC) to issue Certificate of Return to the candidate of the APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma. The Commission has since complied with the judgement of the apex court.
But the CTA in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Faith Nwadishi and made available to newsmen in Abuja expressed concern that in the results of the 388 Polling Units added to the votes of the APC candidate and governor-elect, other 69 political parties that fielded candidates were scored zero.
” The questions begging for answer is where did the APC Candidate get the extra votes to make him governor? So, the results from the 388 polling units alleged to have been excluded had only results for APC while the other Political parties scored zero? What happened to their votes?”
The non-governmental organisation further recalled that in the last general elections, Returning Officer for Imo West Senatorial accused Senator Rochas Okorocha of forcing him to sign fake election results under duress while the Senator that ‘won’ in Imo North, the late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu allegedly used 2015 election results to return himself as senator-elect in 2019
The statement further read in part: ”Politicians have also resorted to a new type of contrived obstruction of the wheel of electoral progress by forging results and returning themselves in elections dubiously.
”CTA is concerned that Imo State has become a Guinea Pig to test run political and judicial malfeasance.
”The case of late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu of Imo North Senatorial District comes to mind whom INEC alleged used a 2015 result sheet to fraudulently return himself as a Senator-Elect in 2019 and was ordered to be sworn in by the Court when INEC insisted on not issuing him with a certificate of Return. The court also stopped INEC from releasing and making public the report of the panel is set up to investigate the matter.
What was the Court hiding? It is on record that the Returning Officer for Imo West Senatorial District on public television said he was returning Senator Rochas Okorocha under duress for fear of his life and his entire family, yet the Courts saw nothing wrong and ordered INEC to issue Okorocha with a Certificate of Return and subsequently, Okorocha was sworn in as a Senator of the Federal Republic.
”The Judiciary as the last hope of the common man must live up to its expectation and be above board in the sense that the Judiciary should not be seen as aiding electoral rascality and fraud. The level of desperation by the political class should not be rewarded by the Judiciary. This kind of behaviour should not be accepted and the outcome of such elections should not be allowed to stand by the Judiciary and beneficiaries of such election malpractice should be punished.
‘A situation where an Electoral Umpire will organise and conduct an election but will not have a say in the outcome of the election should be addressed in future Electoral Reforms.”