Fingered in the plot is the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the state, Prof Sylvia Agu, who is said to be secretly replacing trained ad hoc workers recruited for the Imo governorship election, with members and agents of the ruling APC.
According to sources within INEC’s office in Owerri, the Imo State capital, “the REC had already successfully completed substituting the names of election ad hoc staff for Owerri Municipal Council and Oru East Local Government Area.”
Recall that the opposition parties had demanded the deployment of Imo REC, saying they had no confidence in her and alleged that she had “well documented affiliation with Gov Hope Uzodinma and the APC.”
However, the National Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had refused the request, saying there was no proof of compromise by the Imo REC and, therefore, had no reason to redeploy her.
One of the opposition members who also preferred not to be identified said: “We hereby call on the INEC REC and her collaborators in electoral malfeasance, to investigate and restore the adhoc election workers for Owerri Municipal Council and Oru East LGA, whose names they have substituted with APC agents.
“They should also refrain from further tampering with the list of the remaining twenty five local government areas of the state. INEC Imo REC must allow those trained with Nigeria and Imo taxpayers’ funds for the sole purpose of carrying out election duties, to do the job they were hired and trained for.
“This is the only way the election process can have a semblance of a freeness, fairness and credibility, as well as enjoying the trust and confidence of the people of Imo State.
Besides, it will also go a long way in calming frayed nerves and de escalating the highly tensed atmosphere, which presently pervades the state.
“There’s no gainsaying Imo is on a tinderbox on the eve of this election and that a provocative action such as being taken right now by Imo INEC REC could ignite the fire,” he said, insisting that Prof Agu must be redeployed, because “she lacks the integrity and moral standing to undertake a highly sensitive and combustible task as conducting the governorship election.”
Earlier, Agu had denied all allegations of compromise. She had said other Resident Electoral Commissioners across the nation would also participate in the exercise. I will just be in the state office. Other RECs are coming to ensure that we conduct a credible, free, and inclusive election; so, it is not about whether she is the one conducting it. I’m going to be there in conjunction with about nine RECs with the National Commissioner from Abuja. We only appeal to the politicians not to incite or trigger violence because we are ready to deliver the mandate by the grace of God.”