Violence, Electoral Malpractices Mar Elections In Imo

The governorship and House of Assembly election in Imo State was Saturday marred by violence, shortage and late arrival of electoral materials, among other electoral malpractices in most of the Local Government Areas.

There were heavy shootings in most of the Polling Units in Owerri North, Aboh Mbaise, Onuimo, Oguta, Oru East and Ohaji-Egbema Council Areas, as well as  ballot box snatching.

At Okwele, in Onuimo Council Area, no fewer than three persons suspected to be hired thugs were feared dead in a car accident, while trying to escape with ballot boxes and sensitive electoral materials.

In another place in Aboh Mbaise Council Area, hoodlums dressed in fake Army uniforms and armed with AK47 Riffles, were arrested by Soldiers, while attempting to snatch electoral materials.

Imo State Governor and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rochas Okorocha, condemned the violence that marred the elections, stating that a Panel of Inquiry will be set up to investigate the involvement of some of the politicians.

The governor, who briefed newsmen at his Polling Unit in Ogboko, shortly after casting his vote, blamed the growing violence in some parts of the state, especially Oguta, Ohaji-Egbema, Aboh Mbaise Council Areas, among others on the desperation of some of the politicians.

He however noted that there was significant improvement in the operations of the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to him, “there is a remarkable improvement in the conduct of the security operatives. For instance in this election, there is no Armoured Tank in the front of my house. But the indiscriminate arrest of APC supporters including my Media aide is worrisome.

“Even though the Card Reader rejected me four times, I will say that there is great improvement in accreditations generally”.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise, especially the performance of the Card Readers.

According to him, “the turnout is impressive and peaceful. You can see the people waiting to be accredited”.

Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, shortly after voting in his Polling Unit at Isiebu in Isiala Mbaise Council Area, noted that there was remarkable improvement in INEC preparations in the governorship election compared to the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

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