From Nnamdi Ofonye, Owerri
Less than 24 hours to the April 25th guber and house of assembly supplementary elections in Imo state, APC and PDP are locked in war of words with the electoral umpire also caught in the political cross fire. Both parties are accusing it of bias and electoral fraud.
While the PDP are accusing INEC of colluding with the ruling party in the state to manipulate the governorship and state house of assembly elections and as such have called for total cancellation of the elections, the APC in 2 different press conferences addressed by the South East leaders of the party in Owerri and the Rochas Campaign Organisation have asked the PDP to be magnanimous and concede defeat.
The APC also pointed out that the recent arrest of INEC officials who were doctoring election results within the INEC premises has further exposed the rot in the electoral umpire in the state stressing that they have since cried out over the party’s loss of confidence in INEC.
The party also called for further investigation into the matter with a view to ascertaining the level of complicity on the part of INEC staff with a view to bringing all the culprits to book.
Meanwhile, INEC has disclosed that the expected number of voters that will participate in the Saturday’s election is 133,803 as against the earlier number of 144,415 registered voters in the affected areas.
While addressing newsmen ahead of the election, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Gabriel Adah, said that the actual number of voters expected to participate in the election is based on the number of PVCs distributed as against the number of registered voters.
On the seriousness attached to the supplementary election by the INEC headquarters, Dr. Adah said that 3 other Resident Electoral Commissioners have been deployed to assist in the process while adequate security have also been put in place as he finally confirmed the arrest of its officials by the security over some sharp practices.
Realistically, the contest will be between the incumbent governor Rochas Okorocha of the APC and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who is the candidate of the PDP, Emeka Ihedioha. APC is leading the pack with a margin of about 70,000 votes.