Labour party supporters storm INEC HQ, protest against Imo guber election

On Thursday, November 23, the Labour Party (LP) protested the results of the Imo state governorship at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters.

The party asked for a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the governorship election results.

The Labour Party National Youth leader, Kennedy Ahanotu, and the party’s governorship candidate, Athan Achonu led the party’s supporters to INEC headquarters.

Speaking with reporters during the protest, Achonu maintained that he won the election by a wide margin and accused INEC of tampering with the results of the election in Imo state.
The youth leader questioned why it took three days to declare the results of the Bayelsa State election whereas the Imo results were announced hastily.

He stated that the Labour Party had written to the Commission since Monday, requesting the CTC of the election results, but that they had not received any response.

He said: “We won that election by a landslide. INEC to our greatest shock and surprise, by 10 am that day, had started uploading pre-written results into their portal.

So, when collation started, our state collation agent duly asked INEC not to announce any results because collation started very early that day even while people were still voting.

They uploaded to the IREV even while voting was taking place. So how did that happen?
“Our agent asked them to go to their backend server and confirm the results that they were about to announce, that they were not correct but INEC refused. The returning officer insisted because he had an agenda.”

Ahanotu lamented the fact that INEC, which ought to be the backbone of democracy, was now perceived as political.

He said: “INEC is supposed to be the conscience and soul of democracy. INEC is supposed to be as neutral as water. But today, we see INEC bending towards taking a side in the matter they are refereeing.”

Achonu said: “Bayelsa which has just eight local governments took them three days to announce their state result, while Imo state which has 27 local governments took them just two hours to announce the results.

“They hurriedly announced the result of that election even before the seven days that were allowed for review had passed. So, we duly wrote to INEC asking them to review that election. On Monday, we wrote to the Commission asking them to give us access to the same result that they claim we lost, but up till today, we have not received permission to collect the CTC of that election. So, we are going to march into INEC now and collect our CTC by ourselves.”

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The chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, who was represented by two national commissioners, Muhammed Haruna, and Prof Abdullahi Zuru addressed the protesting LP members begging them to maintain calmness.

Yakubu asked the demonstrators to return to the INEC headquarters by 3 p.m.on the same day that the documents would be made available to them.

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