Domestic election observers have condemned the November 11 Imo governorship election results and called for its outright cancellation, saying it was not free, fair, and credible due to glaring irregularities.
The observers, operating under the auspices of Forum of Accredited Domestic Civil Society Organisations, made the call at a news briefing in Owerri on Wednesday.
BRANDPOWER reports that the observer groups included the New Dawn for Development Initiative; International Women and Youth Revival Initiative; Citizens Right for Peace and Good Leadership Initiative as well as the Centre for Child Care and Youth Development, among others.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr Kenneth Umez, the Director of Operations, She 4 She Initiative for Women and Girl Child Empowerment, said the group was making the call after a constructive assessment, review and critical analysis of the election.
He further said that the observers remained committed to ensuring that election processes are improved and the sovereign rights of the people to their leaders are exercised according to established rules and basic international standards.
Umez described as “unfortunate,“ the incidents of electoral malpractices recorded across board during the election, such as vote buying, voter intimidation, voter apathy and notable violence.
He alleged complicity of security personnel as observed and shown in several viral videos, “where they visibly compromised their duties and were seen aiding and abetting malpractices”.
He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to explain the reason for their “inability to conduct the election in nine polling units in Orsu Local Government Area (LGA) yet results emerged.
“In Orsu LGA, voters were not informed of INEC’s plan to conduct cluster election, hence many voters were disenfranchised.
“In Okigwe LGA, we observed that no result sheets were delivered to polling centres in all the eleven wards of the LGA.
“We urge INEC and security personnel to explain where the collation for Okigwe LGA was done.
“We also witnessed that in Ehime Mbano, Ikeduru and Ideato North, among other council areas, ballot boxes were snatched and delivered to the fortresses of political party actors in the area,“ Umez also said.
He further said that ward collation was not done in the wards as promised by INEC before the election, while there was upload of results from form EC8A to the IREV from polling units where election did not hold.
“In over 2,000 polling units results, as uploaded and seen in the IREV, the total number of votes as allocated to candidates were higher than the actual number of accredited voters, which in all totality demerits the integrity of the Imo governorship election.
“We, therefore, call for total cancelation of the Imo governorship election and the conduct of a proper election,“ Umez said.
He, however, thanked INEC for allowing the groups the opportunity to serve Imo and Nigeria and pledged their commitment to the country’s continued growth and development.