… REC must go – ADC
… REC’s conduct full-blown anarchy – PDP
… We are facing disaster – YPP
… Remove REC now- AA
… Enough is enough – LP
…APC keeps mum
… We will conduct peaceful election -INEC
By Chinonso Alozie
Ahead of this year’s November 11, Imo governorship election in Imo state, political parties on Tuesday called for the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Sylvia Agu.
They made this call in Owerri, in their separate submissions following series of protests at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, located along Owerri-Port Harcourt road in the state.
They said they have lost confidence in the ability of REC, to conduct an acceptable election based on the guidelines provided by the commission. They also mentioned her alleged conduct in the last national and state house of assembly election in the state.
Speaking, the National Vice Chairman South East, African Democratic Congress, ADC, Chilos Godsent, said: “The African Democratic Congress (ADC) South East Zone Join the Call for the immediate Redeployment of the Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and Head of Security Agencies.
“In view of the forthcoming Governorship Election in Imo State It has become imperative that the Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) must be redeployed out of Imo State in other to guarantee a level playing ground in the forthcoming Imo State Governorship Election scheduled to hold on Saturday 11th November, 2023. The call for her removal became necessary because of the fear of her suspected romance with the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Imo State.
“The level of compromise of INEC with the APC led government of Imo State in the March 18th State House of Assembly Election was evidence that she may aid and abett the APC to brutally rig the forthcoming Imo State Governorship Election.”
For the Director-General of Imo PDP New Media Directorate, Lancelot Obiaku, said: “The INEC REC in Imo State, if anything, has undermined the integrity of the electoral umpire. She is highly unprofessional and has shown that she cannot be mentioned where uprightness, integrity and fairness are discussed.
To drive it home, she supervised the most rigged election in the history of the State during the February 25 and March 11, Presidential and National Assembly and State Assembly elections.
“Prof. Sylvia Agu has no business continuing as Imo INEC as she is grossly incompetent. INEC must know that allowing her to continue to the point of conducting the upcoming governorship election is an invitation to full-blown anarchy in the State. Imo people have vowed not to tolerate a situation where INEC which should be an unbiased umpire is seen to connive with desperate politicians to upturn the will of the masses. Enough is enough,” PDP said.
Adding his voice, the 2023 Deputy Director Media and Communications, of the Young Progressives Party, YPP, Micheal Anyanwu, said: “The quest for a responsible and vision-driven governor who will be a credible alternative is on. Ndi Imo will make the all-important decision on November 11. We are sure that our candidate, Dr Kemdi Chino Opara is the people’s choice since he is considered eminently qualified, credible and competent to serve Ndi Imo aright.
“Unfortunately, we do not have confidence in the current Resident Electoral Commissioner in Imo State to conduct free, fair, credible and transparent governorship election in the State. We strongly believe that she would compromise the electoral process. Imo is yet to recover from the shock of the way she played to the gallery during the State House of Assembly elections which were obviously manipulated to the advantage of the ruling Party in the State.”
“You can see today that the tribunal is serving Justice and returning the people’s mandate back to whom they actually voted for in that election. Imo people are against experiencing similar disaster in the governorship election and we consider her to lack the integrity to conduct credible and transparent governorship election come November 11.”
While the Action Alliance, AA, through the State Publicity Secretary, Salvator Amadi, said: “The Imo INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, given the questionable 2023 elections she handled, should be removed to restore confidence in the electoral umpire amongst the electorates.”
According to the State Chairman of the LP, Callistus Ihejiagwa, in a protest at the INEC’s office located along Owerri-Port Harcourt road in Owerri, said: “The only way to ensure a credible governorship election in the state on November 11 was for the commission to immediately redeploy its REC in the state.
“The party is no longer comfortable with the current REC in the State following what we observed during the House of Assembly Elections, and national Assembly elections where INEC guidelines were not followed. What we are demanding is very simple, remove the REC and follow the electoral guidelines stipulated by you. We are tired of politicians occupying leadership positions through the backdoor. Enough is enough. Our party will continue to be peaceful and will also continue to demand for the right things to be done for the betterment of the State.”
However, when the state Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Cajetan Duke, was contacted he declined to comment.
Responding on behalf of the commission, the head, voters education in INEC office in the state, Emmanuella Opara, at the protests calling for removal of the Imo REC, she thanked the labour party chieftains the way they conducted themselves and reassured the party of the commission’s readiness to conduct peaceful and transparent election in the state on November 11, adding that the commission would never compromise on its duty to conduct credible poll in the state.