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Protest, Ballot Snatching, Late Arrival Of Materials Mar Polls In Imo

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The Presidential and National Assembly Elections in Imo State, incidentally were characterized by late arrival of electoral materials in some local government areas such as Ehime Mbano, Isiala Mbano, Owerri Municipal and Mbaitoli.

The card readers did not help the situation as the machine malfunctioned severally in various locations thereby delaying the electorate from performing their franchise.

The exercise witnessed large turnout of voters that waited patiently to cast their votes.

Protest by over 1,000 INEC adhoc staff almost marred the election as they protested the exclusion of their names from the original list of adhoc staff recruited for the exercise.

The protesters accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Francis Ezeonu of removing their names in the final list Adhoc staff recruited for the exercise.

Speaking, one Michael Echetama stressed that the commission was not sincere in the process of engagement procedure.

He revealed that the commission preferred staff of Federal University of Technology, Owerri to the detriment of other Federal Institutions in the state.

“We attended the training sessions twice and as we speak, we don’t know our fate. We have information that INEC has engaged only staff of FUTO, overlooking all of us from other federal institutions in Imo state”.

However, the INEC Public Relation Officer, Emmanuella Opara explained that there was no truth in the allegation raised by the protesters. According to her, those who made the final list were sent text messages by the commission. “They don’t need to crowd the office. This is a duty for collation and returning officers which starts in the evening after the voting process. Those that will make the final list would be sent text messages and would be given appointment letters before noon.

Meanwhile, Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha and wife, Nkechi casted their votes at ward two Ogboko in Ideato South Local Government Area of the State. Okorocha who arrived the venue at about 11:04 am casted his vote by 11:20am.

He said, “I am here with my wife at ward two Ogboko, for now I can say that everything is going on well. The security men are doing their job satisfactorily. I also picked the rumor of ballot box snatching in Osemoto, among other areas.

“But given the Presidential order, many people are afraid of the consequences. If not, by now you will see a lot of people carrying ballot boxes.

“However surprisingly, there is no voter apathy. Our people have realised that it is for the future of the country. I have full confidence that Buhari will win and I will also win my senatorial election with God on our side”.

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