It was drama early Sunday morning as Calistus Ihejiagwa, an agent of the Labour Party (LP) was beaten and bundled out of the Collation Centre in Owerri, during the announcement of the results of the Imo state’s governorship election by his colleagues.
The Labour Party agent had before the commencement of the announcement of the results around 2.30 am noted that the election was marred by voter intimidation, vote buying, and violence.
He alleged that collation officers at the local government areas (LGAs) “manufactured” results.
He alleged that results brought to the state collation centre by the local government collation officers were different from the ones published on the Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
He consequently demanded that the collation should be suspended until the reconciliation of results on the IReV with the one brought by LGA collation officers.
He had also said he had a petition to submit to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the results.
But the Returning Officer for the election, Prof Abayomi Fashina, rejected his bid to submit the petition, saying it was not in his purview to receive petitions.
However, Ihejiagwa was descended on and bundled out of the collation centre at about 5 am for allegedly consistently complaining about the results being declared by the local government collation officers.
The collation of the results continued afterwards with Governor Hope Uzodimma winning in all the local governments declared.
The candidate of the Labour Party in the election, Sen. Athan Achonu, had yesterday night called for a cancellation of results from some polling units over alleged irregularities.
Achonu told journalists in his hometown, Umulumo, in the Ehime Mbano council area of Imo that agents of his party returned with disturbing reports of hijacking of ballot boxes and other electoral materials as well as vote buying.
He added that the LP had officially written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for requisite action and called for the cancellation of results emanating from the affected locations.
He alleged “In parts of Ideato, the process was characterized by ballot box snatching and all manners of irregularities, including intimidation of voters.
“This is unacceptable. We have already written to INEC to take appropriate steps to ensure that fake results are not uploaded,“ he said.
He also decried the “absence of security personnel in certain places around Orlu and Orsu”, while commending the military for turning up to save the situation in some other areas.
INEC’s Head of Voter Education, Mrs Emmanuella Opara, however said that the Commission was yet to receive an official report on the alleged irregularities.