BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI-The returning officer appointed by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the last governorship poll in Imo State, Professor Enoch Akobundu, has been blamed for the political stalemate currently being experienced in the state.
All the respondents interviewed by Vanguard believed that if the man had taken prompt decision on the results collated by the outstation INEC staff, the tension now brewing in the state would have long been averted.
“The returning officer obviously displayed double standards in the process of announcing the results.
“He announced the result of Owerri North local government area, even when he knew that no voting took place at Orji,” Mazi Ikechukwu Ukaegbu said.
Ukaegbu also expressed worry that Professor Akobundu had given out the figures for Oguta local government area before he suddenly announced that the poll was
It was the considered opinion of Mazi Ukaegbu that results had been collated and announced at various levels in Ohaji/Egbema local government area before the case moved to INEC office in Owerri.
“Professor Akobundu declared the poll inconclusive because the electoral officer was not immediately seen in the place.
“It is, therefore, very baffling why he did not announce the result as he did in the case of Owerri North council area,” Ukaegbu said.
Reacting also to the stalemate, Chief Okoroji Ukeoma Osuji, reasoned that nobody would have bothered if Akobundu cancelled Ngor Okpala as he did, adding that a similar decision was taken in Bauchi State and heavens did not fall.
He pleaded with INEC to replace Professor Akobundu with some other person with guts and who will not engage in any double standard game, adding that there was no way the don could exonerate himself from the current tension in Imo State.
….As political parties realign for supplementary election
Last minute political realignment and engineering are now in top gear as Imo State prepares for the supplementary election scheduled for May 6, 2011, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Vanguard investigations revealed that all the major stakeholders in Okigwe senatorial zone have sheath their swords and are favourably disposed to support their son, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, to win the proposed supplementary election.
Their current decision may be connected with what very close watchers of Imo politics called the brazen dumping of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume by Chief Achike Udenwa at the last minute during the last gubernatorial poll.
Chief Rochas Okorocha of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, garnered his highest votes of 30,914 in the gubernatorial contest from Udenwa’s Orlu country home, giving credence to insinuations that the former dumped his ally (Araraume) in the process.
Already, a fresh rapprochement had been brokered between Ohakim and Araraume, who contested the April 26, 2011, gubernatorial election on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria.
It was similarly gathered that the essence of the reconciliation was not only to ensure that the gentleman’s understanding on zoning reached in 1999 was not broken but to also retain Ohakim in Douglas House, Owerri.
Vanguard equally gathered that the voting pattern in the last election before it was declared inconclusive opened the eyes of both Araraume and Ohakim to the reality on ground.
Meanwhile, serious political horse trading by the two major contenders to the coveted governor’s office has started at Ngor Okpala, Oguta, Mbaitoli and Ohaji/Egbema local council areas where the supplementary poll is expected to take place at the weekend.