By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—The top hierarchy of Imo State Police Command, including the Commissioner of Police, CP, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, yesterday, stormed Isiala Mbano, Oru East and Ihitte Uboma local council areas of the state, to enforce peaceful election.
Vanguard, which monitored the poll noticed the presence of heavily armed security personnel in all the designated voting centres in Okigwe senatorial zone.
Speaking exclusively to Vanguard yesterday, the CP said he “had to move all the top officers of the Command to the area to forestall any breakdown of law and order in the communities where the supplementary election was billed to take place”.
It was also noticed that apart from the early arrival of voting materials in the polling booths, there was palpable apathy among the voters, as a negligible number was seen in queues in most of the centres visited by Vanguard.
At the Isiebu, Isiala Mbano country home of Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, booth 002, he not only commended the peaceful conduct of the poll, but also expressed optimism that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would take steps to remedy the lapses associated with the exercise.
“I am impressed with the turn out of voters and as you can see, the ballot boxes are transparent which makes it difficult for any voter to perpetrate any fraud and I expect INEC to have a perfect system in 2019”, Ararume said.
Reacting after casting his vote in his Osuachara Ward, Mr. Chuck Chukwuemeka, the former Economic Adviser to Chief Ikedi Ohakim, accused the All Progressives Congress, APC, loyalists for fanning the embers of violence in the place.
“Please I am fed up with what is happening. Some people who snatched ballot boxes were caught by the army and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and they were handed over to the police. They did everything they could, including snatching of ballot papers and beating up agents of the PDP and these boys were hired by the APC .
“All the booths in Osuachara are endangered and last time we lost 7 booths to the thugs of the APC. Osuachara as a ward has a total of 16 polling booths and it is a stronghold of the PDP. I am from here with the PDP candidate for the State House of Assembly Lady Joy Mbawuike. The APC people want to repeat what they did last time but we will not allow them”, the former Special Adviser said.
Speaking also on the issue, an APC chieftain, Mr. Ikechukwu Onyegbule, dismissed the allegation, stressing that “PDP has already lost and that is why they are crying wolf where there is none”.
As at the time of going to press, collation of result was in progress.