- The candidate of APGA in the last Imo governorship election, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, has approached the state's election petition tribunal
- Ararume asked the Imo election petition tribunal to nullify and set aside the election held in the state on Saturday, March 9
- The suit also has the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP as respondents
The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the last Imo governorship election, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, has asked the state election petition tribunal to nullify and set aside the election held on Saturday, March 9.
Ararume said the election was invalid and non-compliant with the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 and the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He also asked for an order voiding the Certificate of Return issued to governor-elect, Honourable Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The suit also has the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP as respondents.
In his petition no: IM/EPT/GOV/03/2019 dated Monday, March 29 and filed on his behalf by Ahmed Raji SAN, K.C Nwufo SAN, I. K Bawa SAN and others, Ararume also asked for an order directing the INEC to conduct a fresh gubernatorial election in Imo state - in compliance with the provision of the 1999 constitution and the Electoral Act.
He averred that all the scores and purported votes from Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise, Ehime Mbano and other 17 local government council areas of the states, were void and unlawful votes.
Giving ‘’facts’’ in support of the voiding of the election in the stated local government areas, Senator Araraume said that INEC in preparation for the election sourced electoral officers from University of Agriculture, Umudike; that the said electoral officers were ‘’inexplicably’’ changed hours to the election, and replaced them with a different set of untrained electoral officers and ad-hoc staff.
He further averred that the new, untrained electoral officers and ad-hoc staff, most of who hail from Mbaise local government areas, were then appointed and deployed within hours to the commencement of the governorship election, stating that these untrained electoral staff did not subscribe to the oath of neutrality.
According to him, there was massive hijacking and diversion of ballot papers and other electoral material to places other than polling units where several booklets of ballot papers were ‘’massively thumb printed’’ by agents of the PDP in favour of Ihedohia in the aforementioned local government areas, coupled with ballot box snatching and stuffing with ballot papers.
He said that the multiple thumb printed ballot papers for Ihedioha were subsequently stuffed into the ballot boxes and recorded in favour of the PDP and its candidate in the stated local government areas.
He claimed that out of the 27 local government areas in the state, Ihedioha scored 25 percent of total votes cast in 12 local government areas, thereby rendering his purported return invalid.
Meanwhile, Governor Rochas Okorocha has clarified that he still has the constitutional power to make appointments until he leaves office on May 29, this year.
The governor made the comment in Owerri on Friday, April 5, following criticisms of his last minute appointments.
Some chieftains of the incoming PDP government in the state, had accused the governor of trying to burden the incoming administration with the appointments.
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