By Onyeananam Edmund
The coalition of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Accredited civil society Group has finally opened up on the just concluded Re-Run elections in Orlu/Okigwe North Federal Constituencies and Njaba state constituency elections which took place on the 25th of January 2020.
In a statement signed by the Head of observer Team, Prince Emeka I.M and the Secretary Comrade Akambi Isah, the group commended the Independent National Electoral Commission for what they described as their immeasurable and unbiased contributions to the successful conduct of the 25th January 2020 court ordered Re-runs and supplementary elections across eleven (11) States of the Federation more in particular Imo State
The statement reads “there is no doubt that the 25th January 2020 Re-run Elections, marked and appreciate improvement despite some short comings. We wish to place on record that both sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the Saturday election were distributed under the watchful eyes of the observer groups, media, security and party representatives. In Orlu the materials arrived at various polling units on schedule and adequate for the conduct of the election. Voter turnout was impressive in Okigwe North Area while Orlu recorded massive turnout of voters in some areas. Accreditations and voting started in most areas by 9am.The Card Readers were working perfectly in almost all the polling units we observed. Security personnel were everywhere in the polling units while the voting was going on. Party Agents showed up in some polling units. We observed that the counting and announcement of results at the polling units went peacefully more in Okigwe North Areas.”
They said the collection of election results went smoothly and peacefully in Okigwe North Zone only in Obollo that there was little misunderstanding and it was ratified at last.
The coalition expressed dismay over the violence that erupted at the Orlu collation centre in the presence of the election officials, security agents and party agents, where political thugs allegedly came into the hall without hindrance to the table where the collation was going on and tore all the result sheets into pieces and sacked everybody in the hall without any interruption from even the security agents who were there to save the life and property at the moment.
The group alleged that while the collation was going on in the presence of three (3) Federal Commissioners, Returning Officer, REC, Security Fleads, Observers and Media Plus Party agents, about to conclude the result, the Police Chief in Imo State tried all he could to stop the announcement of the result, but his plans were reportedly stopped. The Group condemned the said interference of the Police Chief.
The statement also reads, “we commend the REC, National Commissioners present and the Returning Officers who stood on their toes to see that justice, fairness transparency and sincerity prevailed. We thank them for performing their roles towards the sustenance of a credible, peaceful and transparent electoral process without bowing to intimidation. We appreciate the INEC for declaring the rightful winners in the just concluded Re-run Election in Imo State. The Election Results released by INEC for Okigwe North, Orlu and Njaba were the true picture of the outcome of the election, the election was free, fair and credible. We commend the INEC for Jobs well done; we are in total support of all the result released by INEC. Finally, we append that the result declared by INEC are the true reflection of just concluded Re-run election in Orlu/Orsu/Oru East, Okigwe/IsialaMbano/Onuimo Federal Constituency and Njaba State Constituency.
Finally, we wish the winners to be magnanimous in victory while the losers must also accept defeat with dignity.”
Other observers present during the briefing include: Comr. Richard Anyanwu ,Akindele Akintayo among others.