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Imo Bye-election: Lies, Blackmail Reign As Uzodinma Consolidates; PDP Cries Foul


Imo Bye-election: Lies, Blackmail Reign As Uzodinma Consolidates; PDP Cries Foul

By Charles Igbo

If there is a State where lies, blackmail and outright fabrications reign supreme, nobody needs to look further than Imo State. And if there is any State where blood would definitely flow in 2023, forget the “wild, wild, West.” That was then. Focus on Imo State.

The political bitterness, the political hatred, in the State is unprecedented. No lie is beyond the political actors in the state to tell. No blackmail is too extreme. No fabrication is too much. There is no borderline to what they say, to what their foot soldiers can do, or to what those who write for them and their supporters can put out in the Social Media.

All the above manifested in the run-up to, and on the day of the Bye-election for the Ngor-Okpala State Constituency which became vacant over the irresponsible behavior of its former occupant, Toochi Okereke. He absconded and left his constituency without a representation, and without an explanation.

Since the Supreme Court of Nigeria overturned the election of the Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as the Governor of the State in January 2020, and declared Senator Hope Uzodinma Governor, the bad blood in the State has been unprecedented. But the lies and fabrications peaked in the run-up to the Bye-election.

There are reasons for that.

The election was seen as a supremacy contest between Uzodinma and Ihedioha. It was, also, seen as a popularity test. And it was seen as a foretaste to 2023.

For Ihedioha, the stake was really high. First, the former occupant of that seat was PDP. Ngor Okpala LGA has always been PDP, except once, during the Rochas Okorocha era, when the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, won the LGA. But to crown that, Ihedioha has a blood relationship with the LGA. That is his maternal home.

The two main Political Parties in the State – APC and PDP – campaigned hard. They lied hard. And they fabricated stories hard, especially three days to the election.

When Governor Uzodimma went to Abuja for a meeting of APC Governors with President Muhammadu Buhari, the story put out was that he was in Abuja to perfect how to rig the bye- election with the Leadership of the Military, the Police and the DSS.

On the day of the election, both Parties went nuclear.

From the APC sympathisers was the blatant lie that Ihedioha had directed his Party members in Ngor Okpala to vote for the APGA candidate instead of the PDP candidate because Ihedioha is headed to APGA and would contest for Governorship on APGA’s ticket.

Then, not to be outdone, PDP sympathisers threw in its own huge lie. They said the candidate of the APC, Blyden Amajirionwu, has, on that morning of the election, been disqualified by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, because the APC had fielded two candidates. Any vote cast for him was a waste, the fabricators of the story said. INEC was too busy with the job at hand to issue a disclaimer.

What was not in doubt in the election was that there were the usual violence and snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes. There were both pictorial and video evidences. Said a political watcher and analyst to this magazine: “There were irregularities on both sides of APC and PDP. I cannot quite tell you which party was guilty the most.”

The INEC Resident Commissioner, Professor Francis Ezeonu, confirmed the situation. Addressing the Press on Saturday, he also said that INEC staff members had been kidnapped, and passionately asked for their release. That, however, did not stop him from announcing the result and the winner.

APC’s candidate, Amajirionwu, won by defeating 10 other candidates. The PDP candidate came second.

APC, PDP React:

Both the leadership of the APC and PDP have reacted differently to the result of the polls. In a statement, an elated Uzodinma said:

“The Ngor Okpala by-election was very important because the people have stayed too long without a voice at the State House of Assembly.

I thank God for liberating the people of Ngor Okpala from the hands of those who have held them hostage for a long time.

“I thank God for life, for his love and for victory, and I congratulate Imo people for the good health we have we have continued to receive from God.

“Ngor Okpala people understood the message that they have been deceived for a long time and decided to take their faith and destiny in their own hands.

“God has returned Imo State to political stability and sustenance.

‘’God in his infinite mercy is gradually opening our eyes to see him and appreciate the fact that the Shared Prosperity government is ordained by God.

“Those who are still fighting the God instituted Government in Imo State to sheathe their sword and avoid fighting God.

“Instead of wasting their time and resources fighting God-given power and authority they should use same to improve the life and wellbeing of Imo State and her citizens.

“To be Governor or His Excellency, the person must have excellent character and exhibit excellent personality. In addition, the person must try to justify the confidence the people have reposed in him.”

But in his own reaction, the State Chairman of the PDP, Engr. Charles Ugwu dismissed the election as a sham, alleged irregularities, rigging and snatching of ballot boxes, and asked for the arrest of those he mentioned as being responsible for the heist.


“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Imo State wishes to alert the public to the abductions, violence, snatching of ballot boxes, shootings and widespread electoral fraud sponsored by Governor Hope Uzodinma and his cohorts during the Ngor Okpala State Constituency By-election held on Saturday, 26th February, 2022.

“In a brazen show of force, members of APC, including appointees of the Hope Uzodinma led government, APC members of the Imo State House of Assembly and House of Representatives, invaded Ngor Okpala with a combined team of the Police, Army, Navy, DSS, Uzodinmas militia group, Hopism Strike Force and over seventy buses of armed thugs to unleash terror on innocent voters in Ngor Okpala.

“In that orgy of violence, INEC staff as well as PDP members and innocent voters were kidnapped, while others were beaten to a pulp and left half-dead in their pool of blood. The Gestapo-like manner traversed Ngor Okpala from Umuowa, Umuneke, Imerienwe, Logara and continued to the rest of the wards, leaving in their trail, pain, anguish and destruction like an invading army. They carted away electoral materials and took them into the residences of some APC leaders and to the Santiago Hotels located near the Sam Mbakwe Airport along Owerri-Aba road where they perpetrated the electoral heist. The ballot papers were thumb-printed right in the hotel and results computed.

“It is noteworthy that the candidate of our party, Hon. Emeka Jeff Nwachukwu, was placed under house arrest with armoured tanks stationed in front of his residence at Umuneke while armed thugs shot sporadically to scare away voters from exercising their franchise. But thank God for the undying spirit of the voters who, in most areas defied these intimidation to cast their votes for our party, only for invading army to return at points of collation to snatch results sheets.

“Notorious among the kingpins in this criminality were Amara Iwuanyanwu, Deputy Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Chinasa Nwaneri, Special Adviser, Special Duties to Governor Uzodinma; Kennedy Ibeh Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Pastor Chike Okafor member, House of Representatives, Miriam Onuoha, Macdonald Ebere State Chairman of APC and Blyden Amajirionwu, one of the candidates of the APC.

“These persons were captured on camera while carting away BVAS machines and other electoral materials at the polling units mentioned below;


Ward 1 —008 & 016

Ward 2 —015

Ward 3— 002

Ward 4— 005

Ward 6— 001, 003, 007, 009

Ward 8— 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 009, 011.

Ward 11—002, 010 & 012

“The barbarity that was witnessed in Ngor Okpala on Saturday could best be described as a new low in the country’s democratic experience.

“The PDP, therefore, condemns in strong terms, these acts of violence, abductions and electoral fraud by the APC in Imo State.

“We strongly condemn the manipulation and acquiescence of the heads of the security agencies in Imo State, who have allowed themselves to be used to subvert the wishes of the innocent, vulnerable and hapless citizens. The leadership of security agencies in Imo must know that power belongs to the people and must desist from being tools in the hands of illegitimate and desperate politicians who are bent on setting the state on fire for their inordinate political ambitions.


“1. INEC MUST scrutinise and summarily reject results of those contentious polling units where APC agents perpetrated these violent acts were reported.

“2. INEC must resist every attempt to induce, intimidate them to lending itself to the obnoxious agenda of denying the people the right of choosing their representatives, in exercise of their democratic rights and civic duties.

“3. We wish to call on INEC to demonstrate patriotic bravery and declare our candidate, Hon. Emeka Jeff Nwachukwu, winner of this election. This call is as a result of the evident overwhelming votes cast by the electorate for our party as shown by the legitimate results so far declared.

“We commend Professor Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner and the Commission’s staff for resisting these invaders and standing up to the truth. The press conference earlier addressed by the Resident Commissioner aptly captured the entire issues.

“We also demand the immediate arrest of all the appointees, allies, associates and agents of APC and Gov Uzodinma who have been identified in the shameful abductions, violence and electoral fraud in Ngor Okpala.”

The election sure would have some implications come 2023. For Ihedioha and the PDP, it is back to the drawing board. This is the second time the APC and Uzodinma would defeat them. The first was at the Senatorial election of Okigwe Zone when the APC prevailed. The PDP was waiting for a draw with the Ngor Okpala Bye-election.

It didn’t happen. It is now 2-0.

2023 is another date.

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