The Imo State chapter of the Labour Party has formally disassociated itself from the results of the November 11 Governorship Election in Imo, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Mr. Callistus Ihejiagwa, the Party’s Chairman, voiced this stance while addressing the media in Owerri on Sunday.
Ihejiagwa, expressing deep concern over the electoral process, characterized the election as marred by “attacks, intimidation, and stiff opposition to the will of the masses,” deeming the announced result unacceptable. Citing paragraph 48, sub-paragraphs A and B of the electoral guidelines, he revealed that he had petitioned INEC before the final collation began, raising concerns about the manner of voter accreditation. Regrettably, his petition was allegedly ignored, and the collation process proceeded.
The Party Chairman alleged that when he insisted on halting the collation process for the petition to be heard, he was accused of disrupting the process and physically assaulted by thugs affiliated with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the presence of security agents. He pointed out that the electoral guidelines state that collation should not commence until the Returning Officer confirms proper accreditation in line with the law, asserting that this provision was contravened.
According to Ihejiagwa, despite repeated calls for their petition to be heard well in advance of collation, the Returning Officer, Prof. Abayomi Fasina, refused to entertain the petition. He detailed an incident where he was physically assaulted by APC thugs during the collation process, resulting in personal loss and detention by the police.
“We took our time to document the anomalies and prepare a strongly worded petition that was never heard, and for this reason, we will be seeking judicial redress. LP completely dissociated itself from the purported result and will challenge it in court, with all our evidence. Our candidate, Sen. Athan Achonu won this election and we’ll retrieve the mandate in court,” he declared.
Ihejiagwa expressed dismay over the perceived failure of security personnel to protect him at the collation center and INEC’s alleged refusal to address his petition. He remained resolute in the party’s belief that their candidate, Sen. Athan Achonu, emerged victorious in the election and affirmed the party’s commitment to seeking justice through legal channels.