An Igbo socio-political group, Imo Renaissance, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the Imo West senatorial district election as it did in other states with similar circumstances.
A statement issued yesterday by the convener of the group, Chief Donatus Oparadike, said INEC erred to have allowed the election to go on, given the open show of violence and brigandage before, during and after the election in the senatorial district.
The statement reads, “Without prejudice to the case now before the court and the tribunal, we are aghast that INEC did annul the Imo West senatorial election amid overwhelming evidence of violence by agents of the incumbent Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who is also a contestant in the election.
“We refer INEC to the decisions it took in elections with similar acts of violence, namely, the elections in parts of River State, Anambra, Lagos among others; all of which were cancelled and re-runs held.
“We do not see any difference between these elections that were cancelled and the sham that happened in Imo West senatorial district.
“We hold INEC in high esteem and we expect it to show the same courage it demonstrated in states where elections in some flash points were cancelled and re-run held.
“What happened in Imo West was a display of primitive electoral values by the incumbent governor, who used state apparatus to oppress and intimidate, not only the opposition but INEC officials and the electorate who trooped out to exercise their franchise but were scared away by armed agents of the governors.
“Those of us from this part of Nigeria particularly residents and natives of Imo West, who witnessed what happened during the election are still in shock as to why INEC failed to halt the election in the peak of the violence visited on INEC officials and the electorate. INEC ought to have declared the exercise a nullity, hours after the show of shame by Governor Okorocha and his agents.
“We wager that it is still not late for INEC to render nugatory the senatorial election in Imo West in the same manner it did in similar election in other states with similar circumstances of violence and crude undertakings of a few agents of destabilisation to abridge the will of the people,” Oparadike said.