Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Imo State Supplementary poll: Okorocha accuses PDP of planning to rig

The All Progressives Grand Alliance governorship candidate in Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party agents have started thumb-printing ballot papers ahead of Friday’s supplementary election in the state.

Okorocha, who made the allegation at a news conference on Monday in Owerri, said the thumb-printing was being carried out in a bush and some houses of the party stalwarts.

He claimed that he had video tapes to support his claim, saying that he was ready to make them available to the electoral officers.

“What are ballot papers doing in the bush. Yesterday (Sunday), papers were being thumb-printed by PDP agents in the bush and in houses of the party stalwarts. We have all these on tapes and we will make them available to electoral officers and others for them to see how desperate the PDP is to rig the supplementary election,” Okorocha said.
He also said that he got intelligence report that the government, as part of its rigging strategy, had planned to arrest APGA leaders before the election to break their ranks and cause confusion.

Okorocha also alleged that further intelligence report indicated that fake corps members, police and soldiers had been recruited to perpetrate rigging for the opponent.

But Peoples Democratic Party said that Okorocha’s allegations were wild and unimaginable.

The party’s Secretary, Mr. George Egu, told our correspondent on the telephone that there was no iota of truth in the story.

“If they claimed they saw people thumb-printing, why did they not arrest them or report the matter to the police? After all, they have policemen attached to them. It is all fallacy. The allegation is wild and unimaginable,” Egu said.

He, therefore, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies to investigate the allegation in the spirit of fair-play, equity and democratic values.

“There is an attempt to arrest APGA leadership before Thursday. Let me warn them that we shall resist any arrest for the purpose of giving our opponents advantage,” he said.

On the supplementary election, he said that his party had agreed to run, but needed to be reassured that it would be free and fair.

Okorocha demanded the removal of the Resident Electoral Commission of the state, Prof. Celina Okoh, and the replacement of the INEC ad hoc staff used for the governorship election, saying that they had all been compromised.

He urged the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to sack the state electoral officers and bring commissioners and supervisors from Abuja to conduct the rerun.

He also urged the Presidency to explain its position on the governorship stalemate in Imo, saying that their names were constantly being dropped in the entire saga.
The Punch

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