Protesters storm NASS over delayed Imo North senatorial rerun

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

Protesters, under the aegies of Okigwe Zonal Development Association, Abuja (OZDA), yesterday staged a demonstration at the National Assembly, over the delay in conducting Imo North Senatorial rerun polls.

His Royal Highness, Eze O.J. C. Anyanwu, of Ehime in Mbano Local Council area, led the protesters, dominated by elderly people from the affected areas.

OZDA vice chairman, Chif Asomugha, who spoke for the group, said their protest became necessary, to convey their displeasure at the continued breach of their right to representation at the Senate.

The group asked the Senate to summon the Inspector General of Police, Commandant-General of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Chief of Army Staff and the Director-General of the Directorate of State Security, to explain why their men cannot provide security for an in only six out of the 27 local government areas in the state.

The protesters also called on the Senate to summon the Chairman of INEC, to explain reason for the continued delay in conducting the rerun

Asomugha said the breach was occasioned by the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the senatorial rerun election within 90 day, as ordered by the Court of Appeal on December 11, 2015.

He said, “We believe that this state of affairs is orchestrated by a few disgruntled elements, in and outside the state, who seem to have forged unholy alliance with security agencies and INEC, to leave the seat vacant since the are not confident enough to face the electorate.”

The people of Okigwe, he said, came out during the general election of April 2015 and gave their mandate to Athan Nneji Achonu, who ran and won the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He said the result of the election was however challenged by other candidates, who filed petitions before the Election Petition Tribunal.

Asomugha said that the Court of Appeal had nullified the election based on the petition filed by candidate of the Accord Party, on the proviso that his party’s logo was omitted from the ballot paper.

Based on that, he said, INEC fixed February 20th, 2016 as the date for the re-run election.

According to him, “Unfortunately, on February 19, while INEC was preparing to commence the distribution of election material from the state head office in Owerri, some hoodlums mounted a blockade at the gate of INEC, protesting against the conduct of the election.”

The protesters lamented that the security officials at the INEC office, were unable to bring the situation under control.

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