THE outgoing Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, says last Saturday’s gubernatorial elections in the state was heavily rigged against his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, and that the Imo Resident Electoral Officer, Francis Ezeonu, was the mastermind of the fraud.
Okorocha said this while addressing some supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who were protesting what they described as the rigging of the guber election in the state.
INEC had declared Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the election and pronounced him governor-elect, but Okorocha insists that Nwosu won the election by over 50,000 votes but for the manipulation of the results from Mbaise, where Ihedioha hails from.
“If you remove the manipulation results from Mbaise, Uche Nwosu won with over 50,000 votes, if you cannot declare him a winner because you have someone already, then they should go for a rerun because you cannot change the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because you want to favour a candidate,” Okorocha said.
“In the course of this manipulation, we all observed that the REC decided not to use the collation officers from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), which he disbanded for reasons he gave that they have met with politicians.
“Again, he brought some people whom he introduced from the University of Agriculture, Umudike, they arrived just a night before the election date and we thought we have gotten the collation officers. Again, those ones were disbanded on the same reason that they have met with politicians. I wonder how this is possible; having arrived the state past midnight on the election eve.
“Now, the REC went to his own University in Awka to bring in collation officers. We believed him, not knowing that he brought people he has been training for a hatched job for some weeks now in Anambra state to come and carry out this injustice in Imo state.
“These men arrived with heavy security from Anambra and went straight to the various local governments. We never knew that these were relatives of the PDP candidate and from the same local government. These are relatives of the PDP candidate who were already briefed on what to do.
“This explains the over voting witnessed in Mbaise. Out of the 270,000 votes that he scored, 50 percent of it or over 130,000 all came from just three local governments of Mbaise.
“The REC has shown he was brought to Imo after the 2015 election to return PDP to power in the state. The REC had acted illegally by ignoring the provision of the Constitution that makes it mandatory for a candidate to have 25 percent in two-thirds of the Local Governments in the State by announcing the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha who only met the requirement in nine Local Governments instead of 18 LGAs which is two-thirds of 27 LGAs winner.”
Okorocha also frowned at the exclusion of his name from the INEC list of senators-elect that would be issued with certificates of return on Thursday. He said the electoral body has no authority to decline to issue him his certificate after he had been declared the winner of the election.
“I wonder why INEC will withhold my certificate for a frivolous reason, without hearing from me. I am not a violent person and those who know me know that,” he said.
“My INEC certificate cannot be touched or seized, doing so is belittling democracy in Nigeria. It is only the tribunal that has the right to say otherwise once a result is declared. INEC cannot seize my certificate by a mere petition written by somebody in a case I was not given the opportunity to present my own side of the story.”