The call for women to actively participate in politics has again yielded fruits as two women in Imo State have been declared winners in two out of three constituencies in which results have been announced in last weekend’s re-run/supplementary polls conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The results of the third, Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal Constituency were yet to be declared as at Monday morning.
The winners include Mrs. Uju Onwudiwe of Action Alliance (AA) in Njaba Constituency and Mrs. Miriam Onuoha of All Progressives Congress (APC), who emerged winner in Onuimo/Okigwe/Isiala Mbano Federal Constituency. There were, however, cases of hoodlums who stormed the collation centre and allegedly tore materials to shreds. Officials of the electoral body confirmed this. But the elections recorded low turn out, voter apathy, and violence despite the heavy presence of security operatives.
The Guardian also gathered that vote-buying, resurfaced in some voting points as some persons were dishing money to some voters.
While the Returning Officer for Njaba, Prof. Maduabuchi Joseph Nwankwo, declared Onwudiwe winner, the Returning Officer of Onuimo/Okigwe/Isiala Mbano Federal Constituency, Prof. Frank Collins, announced Onuona as the winner, defeating 27 other candidates in the 12 Polling Units, where the Appeal Court sitting in Owerri had ordered for the supplementary election.
According to Nwankwo, Onwudiwe polled 6,342, Charles Abia of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 5,487 votes; All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates had 3,183 and 2,662 votes respectively.According to the Returning Officer in-charge of Onuimo/Okigwe/Isiala Mbano Federal Constituency, Collins, Onuoha scored 23,690 votes to defeat her closest rival, Obinna Kingsley Onwubuariri of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 10,010 votes. Onwuabuariri was in the federal house when the court order took place following a petition filed by Onuoha. There was a margin lead of 13,680 between the winner, Onuoha and runner’s up, Onwuabuariri. Onyeiwu Uchenna Ubah of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) came distant third with 263 votes.
In this case, according to the Returning Officer, out of 200,684 registered voters, 38,244 were accredited, while a total of 35,198 votes were cast in the various voting points, adding that the total percentage of turnout was 19.06 per cent. A total of 815 votes, he said, were rejected.
In turn, the declaration of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows that Onwudiwe scored 6,142 votes, while Charles Abia of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came second with 5,487 votes. In the case of Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal Constituency, PDP’s candidate, Jerry Alagboso, was in the lower chamber of the National Assembly before the Court of Appeal also ordered for a re-run.
But Imo PDP has called for the cancellation of the elections, saying it was marred by all kinds of violence and irregularities, which put the party at disadvantage. A statement on Sunday issued by the Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Damian Oparah, expressed the feelings of the party.
Sadly, the joy of many supporters of the winner of Onuimo/Okigwe/Isiala Mbano Federal Constituency, Onuoha, was cut short as a political stalwart, the 2019 senatorial candidate of the AA, Ndubuisi Emenike, was shot dead, perhaps accidentally, by an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) – name withheld. The security officer came in company of another stalwart in the area to felicitate with Onuoha in her victory, just as the late Emenike did. The incident took place Sunday evening.
The state command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Orlando Godson Ikeokwu, confirmed the incident, when he said, “They were celebrating the victory of Princess Miriam Onuoha, in the home of Miriam. He is confirmed dead. Correction please: the officer that shot the deceased is attached to one Chief Ken Egwuasi and not the deceased please.”When asked the name of the security operative, who shot the deceased, he declined.
“I can’t say for now,” Ikeokwu said.On the part of PDP, while calling for cancellation of the elections, said, “INEC Must Cancel all the Re-run Elections purportedly conducted on 25/10/2020 in Imo State”:
“Consequent upon the charade done yesterday, Saturday, 25/01/2020 in the name of conduct of re-run elections by INEC in Okivwe North, Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal Constituency and Njaba State Constituency, all in Imo State, the Peoples Democratic Party, Imo State Chapter, hereby calls on INEC to cancel the elections as the entire exercise was the worst elections ever conducted since the history of elections in Imo State.
“A situation where the men of the Nigeria Police Force openly aided thugs to cart away election materials is not only worrisome but dangerous to our democracy.“In almost all the polling units where these elections were purportedly conducted, PDP’s agents and the entire electorate were not allowed to vote. Intimidations, vote buying by APC became the order of the day.
“At collation centres, result sheets that contained the actual voting in the polling units were destroyed by APC thugs in collaboration with the police and INEC officials.“PDP’s agents and supporters were in some places chased out of voting centres without allowing them to vote; so many of them sustained various degrees of injuries. Vote buying became the order of the day. The worse is that all these anomalies were carried out in the presence of security agents and INEC officials.
“PDP therefore calls on INEC to cancel all the re-run elections conducted in the two federal constituencies, and one state constituency as the whole exercise was marred by intimidation, violence, vote buying etc.“The party shall not accept anything short of total cancellation of the entire elections.”