—“Prosecute Ibeawuchi for Working for PDP at Imo West Senatorial Elections”, Witnesses Cry Out
YBTC News—Returning officer for the Imo West senatorial election Professor Innocent Ibeawuchi lied to the media on the controversy that trailed Governor Rochas Okorocha’s electoral victory and needs to be prosecuted, according to party agents at the collation centre.
They claimed that it was not true that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) or his agents forced him to announce Okorocha as senator-elect at the collation centre in Orlu.
The party agents who witnessed the scene said they were shocked when Professor Ibeawuchi announced that the Imo state Resident Electoral Commissioner had directed him to move the process to Owerri at a time the governor had won in eight out of the nine local government areas announced.
One of them said “if the Professor was under pressure, then accusing fingers should be pointed at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Jones Onyeriri who was clearly losing at the time he attempted to suspend the announcement.
This was corroborated by APC’s collation agent Steve Asinobi who was also present at the Orlu centre.
Like other agents, he wondered what could be so important for the Returning Officer to stop announcing election results midway in order to continue with the process in Owerri.
Asinobi said “The truth is that on Sunday at about 10 pm after collating results of 9 council areas namely Nkwerre , isu, Nwangele ,Njaba, Ideato South , Ideato North ,Oru east , Ohaji Egbema and Orsu, the returning officer announced to the utter shock of most people present that the Resident Electoral Commissioner had requested him to return to the state headquarters in Owerri to continue with the process.
“At this point, Owelle Rochas had won in 8 local government areas while Jones had won in one which is Orsu . The move was vehemently rejected by all including security operatives as this might lead to manipulations of results. In addition, the laws of the land back our position that the Orlu Senatorial election has to be concluded in Orlu collation centre.
“Apart from the PDP agent and the party’s senatorial candidate who came to INEC office to attempt to make us change our mind, every other party agent and even election observers present insisted that the remaining 3 LGAs must be collated in Orlu and not Owerri .
He also maintained that the Imo state governor had no reason to pile any pressure on the INEC Returning Officer.
“In all of these Owelle was never involved and if the professor said he was under duress, it was self inflicted as he in concert with PDP candidate and its agent wanted to subvert the will of the good people of Orlu which was rejected by our people and supported by the police area commander, the DSS , the Army , other security agencies as well as election observers and media personnel present at the collation centre.
He added that when collation of results from the remaining three local government areas was done, Governor Okorocha was duly elected as senator representing the Orlu Zone in the Senate.
“Even after issuing the summary result sheet to us (form EC 8D(1)) Ibeawuchi claimed that he was not given the declaration form EC 8E(1) and this led to another bout of problems to the astonishment of all including the media .
“We suspect that he was working for PDP so we are filing a formal report and petition against him with video evidence. This is with a view to pushing for his prosecution for electoral fraud”, he said.
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