Barr. Callistus Ihejiagwa, the Imo Labour Party Chairman in Imo State, today, on wheelchair, led hundreds of other party members to protest at the Imo State INEC office this Monday afternoon.
The Labour Party raised the alarm over the delay by INEC in releasing the Certified True Copies (CTC) of all the documents used in the November 11 election, which were used to declare Governor Hope Uzodimma as winner in the contentious election.
The Party said the CTC of the documents are important to enable it to approach the court to reclaim its “stolen mandate in the biggest electoral heist ever in the history of the state”.
In his speech at the protest, Ihejiagwa who lamented over the brutalisation he received at the INEC Collation Centre for demanding that they should collate the results in in accordance with the electoral acts and INEC guidelines regretted that “nine days after INEC collated false results and declared Hope Uzodimma winner of the election, the electoral body is yet to release the CTC of the documents they used in declaring a winner.”
According to him, “Nine days after, INEC has refused to give us certified true copies of those fake results that they used to declare Hope Uzodimma as winner. Nine days after the election, the INEC Chairman, Prof Mamoud Yakubu, the INEC Federal Commissioner in charge of South East, Mr. Ken Ukaogu; the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Imo State, Prof Silvia Agu, nine days after the election have refused to give us the CTC.
“Inside the Collation hall, they were mocking Labour Party. They were mocking us that we should go to court, that we should go to tribunal. The returning officer, Prof Abayomi Fasina, was mocking us that we should go to court. Now, we have applied to them to give us CTC so that we can go to court but nine days after the election, they are still delaying.
“They are deliberately frustrating us. As a law-abiding political party, as peace-loving people, we have come here so that the whole world will hear our voice.
“We have come here so that the whole world will hear that INEC is frustrating us. They have denied us documents that we need. They are using technical reasons; they are saying there is a delay from from one department to another.”
Ihejiagwa pleaded with the electoral umpire to release the CTC to the Labour Party.
“INEC, we are begging you on bended knees, the Labour Party, we have gathered here in one voice; Imolite have come here in one voice, we have only one demand – CTC.”
However, in her response on behalf of the commission, the Head, Voter Education and Publicity, Mrs. Emmanuela Ben Opara, acknowledged that the Commission had received the official request for the CTC from the Labour Party.
“We received your request and we minuted on it. I want to let you know that is is your right to request for the release of the CTC and your application is being attended to and we really have to cost what it will take to produce those materials.
“The materials are being assembled as we speak. So, by tomorrow, we’ll give you the cost. On payment of the cost we, we’ll issue the materials to you. We are not saying we didn’t receive your application; we received your application and it’s being attended to.”
Recall that last Saturday the Achonu Campaign Organisation issued a press statement on INEC’S refusal to release the CTC documents of the last election days after the party had officially applied for it.
The Party had insisted that “since INEC was so efficient to announce the results of 27 LGA in less that 12 hours after the election, why then is it taking same INEC seven days to issue the documents backing their pronouncements? One would expect a better and efficient approach from the electoral body. Since they declared the results with the speed of light, then the CTC shouldn’t be a that difficult to release.”
Reacting to the statement of the INEC’s Head of Voter Education and Publicity that they were costing the materials, Tony Iwuoma, a Public Affairs Analyst said: “If they (INEC) know the number of pages, it means they know the cost already. Or are they implying that the cost assessment is different from what they had been doing in the past? I find these comedians very amateurish. But for our pliable courts, they couldn’t even rig election ‘professionally’. Even to lie, they give us much to laugh about.”