Home » Elections 2011, Governors, Imo, NNP Elections 2011 Updates, State News » As Imo goes to supplementary poll today

As Imo goes to supplementary poll today

The leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, obviously took the gubernatorial polls in Imo State for granted. They believed that they had the structures, as well as completed and on_going projects executed by the present administration as their testimonial. Events have since shown that it was their biggest mistake.

The opposition parties took their time to reach the communities and in the process, placed all manner of information at the disposal of the citizenry. The opposition alleged that the government had not performed and said some state projects, for instance, were federal projects. The Ikedi Ohakim administration had a handful refuting the allegations among Imo people. This situation subsisted until the April general elections.

The first upset in the state was the triumph of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the National Assembly elections. APGA won the Owerri senatorial seat, as well as the Owerri, Ideato North and South federal constituencies. The votes they garnered in other areas were also enough proof that APGA meant business.

Despite the supposed big names in Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, including Chief Achike Udenwa, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Dr. Alex Obi, Okenze Sylvester Obinna, Chief Charles C. Uba and Chief Noel Agwuocha Chukwukadibia among others, the party did not make much impact at the polls.

The climax was the governorship and House of Assembly elections. As at the last count, PDP had captured 16 seats, APGA seven and ACN, one while the gubernatorial seat was declared inconclusive by the Vice Chancellor (Academic), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Professor Enoch Akobundu, who doubled as the Returning Officer.

Professor Akobundu, has largely been blamed for the political stalemate currently being experienced in the state. Most people spoken to  believed that if the man had taken prompt decision on the results collated by the out station INEC staff, the tension now brewing in the state would have long been doused.

“The returning officer obviously displayed double standards in the process of announcing the results. He announced the result of Owerri North local government area, even when he knew that no voting took place in Orji”, Mazi Ikechukwu Ukaegbu said.

Continuing, Ukaegbu also expressed worry that Akobundu had given out the figures for Oguta local government area before he suddenly announced that the poll was inconclusive.

It was the considered opinion of Mazi Ukaegbu that results had been collated and announced at various levels in Ohaji/Egbema local government area before the case moved to INEC office in Owerri.

“Professor Akobundu declared the poll inconclusive because the electoral officer was not immediately seen at the place. It s therefore very baffling why he did not announce the result as he did in the case of Owerri North council area,” Ukaegbu said.

Reacting also to the stalemate, Chief Okoroji Ukeoma Osuji, reasoned that nobody would have bothered if Akobundu cancelled Ngor Okpala as he did, adding that a similar decision was taken in Bauchi State and heavens did not fall.

He pleaded with INEC to “replace Professor Akobundu with some other person with guts and who will not engage in any double standard game.”

Speaking in like manner, Mr. Vitalis Ejimofor, the chairmam of Imo State Indigenes Club, urged INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, to ensure credible supplementary election in Imo to sustain the tempo of credible polls he had conducted so far.

“We the indigenes club of Imo State appeal to him to see that the Imo State gubernatorial election is transparent. We beg him to call the electoral commissioner to order and to ensure that the results are announced according to how the people voted.

The result should be announced by each local government returning officer to the hearing of all before being handed over to the state returning officer of Imo State. We don’t want anarchy in our state. Whichever party that wins the election in Imo State should be given the mandate. It is only Imo State indigenes that should choose who governs them and not outsiders,” he said.

Ahead of tomorrow’s polls, last minute political realignment and engineering are now in top gear.

Going into the race, APGA’s candidate, Rochas Okorocha is leading in 13 out of the 27 local government areas while Governor Ikedi Ohakim of PDP has 10 councils leaving four to be contested today.

The outstanding councils are Mbaitolu, Ngor-Okpala, Oguta, Ohaji/Egbema and Orji Ward in Owerri North local government.

To win the exercise, there have been claims and counter-claims by the leading contestants. One account said major stakeholders in Okigwe senatorial zone have sheathed their swords and were now favourably disposed to support their son, Chief Ikedi Ohakim to win the proposed supplementary election.

Their current decision is said to be hinged what very close watchers of Imo politics called, “the brazen dumping of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume by Chief Achike Udenwa at the last minute, during the last gubernatorial poll”.

Chief Rochas Okorocha garnered his highest votes of 30,914 in the gubernatorial contest from Udenwa’s Orlu country home, giving credence to comments that the Udenwa had dumped his ally (Araraume) in the process.

Another claim said a fresh rapprochement had been brokered between Ohakim and Araraume, who contested the April 26, 2011, gubernatorial election on the platform of ACN to ensure that the gentleman understanding on zoning reached in 1991 was not broken so that Okigwe zone will finish her eight-year rotation.

However, APGA National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, described as late and unholy the move to bring Ohakim and Araraume together. “The alliance is unholy and it will not make any impact. Is it now that they know they should come together? Even that will not affect the chance of APGA in the election,” he said.

APGA supporters said the party was more ground in the affected areas especially Oguta, which is one of the 12 local governments in Okorocha’s Orlu zone.

Factors that made Ohakim trail Okorocha in the first election, they contended were still counting. They include his case with a Reverend Father in the predominantly Catholic adherents state, sacking of former Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho.

However, ACN supporters claim that the new rapprochement between Ohakim and Araraume, realignment of forces in Ohakim’s Okigwe zone would keep the governor at Government House, Owerri. They claim that APGA had already foreseen defeat coming hence their push to stop the polls via the courts.

It is to be seen which claim will stand the test of time.

-Vanguard

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Posted by on May 5 2011. Filed under Elections 2011, Governors, Imo, NNP Elections 2011 Updates, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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