The Labour Party in Imo has dissociated itself from the result of the Nov 11 Governorship Election in Imo, as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Party’s Chairman, Mr Callistus Ihejiagwa, said this while reacting to the election outcome in an interaction with newsmen in Owerri on Sunday.
Ihejiagwa said the election was characterized by “attacks, intimidation and stiff opposition to the will of the masses”, describing the announced result as unacceptable.
Citing paragraph 48, sub-paragraphs A and B of the electoral guideline, Ihejiagwa said that before the commencement of final collation, he petitioned INEC over the manner of accreditation of voters. Still, his petition fell on deaf ears as the commission collated.
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 Labour Party 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.
“We took our time to document the anomalies and prepare a strongly worded petition that was never heard, and for this reason, we will be seeking judicial redress.
“LP completely dissociated itself from the purported result and will challenge it with all our evidence in court.
“Our candidate, Sen. Athan Achonu, won this election, and we’ll retrieve the mandate in court “, he said