The Labor Party (LP) in Imo State on Monday protested the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deliver to the party the certified authentic copy of the gubernatorial election result in the state.
Newslodge reported that INEC declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the November 11 state governorship election.
According to the result declared by the commission, Uzodinma polled 540,308 votes to defeat his closest rival and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Samuel Anyanwu, who polled 71,503 votes.
The LP candidate in the election, Athan Achonu, came third with 64,081 votes.
LP president and collection agent, Callistus Ihejiagwa, was expelled from the collection center for allegedly “disrupting” the process.
On Monday afternoon, Mr Ihejiagwa, a wheelchair-bound lawyer, led hundreds of other party members to protest at the INEC headquarters in the state.
Speaking to reporters during the protest, the LP president said the party had requested to obtain a certified true copy of the election result, but the commission did not provide them with the copy nine days later.
Labor Party members protest in Imo on Monday
He said they were at the INEC headquarters so that “the whole world hears their voice.” He asked the INEC chairman, the commissioner in charge of the South East and the resident electoral commissioner of the state to intervene in his request.
“(It has been) nine days, INEC has refused to give us the true certified copy of the results they used to declare Hope Uzodinma the winner (of the elections).
“Inside the collection room, they were mocking the Labor Party. They were making fun of us saying that we should go to court, that we should go to court. The returning officer, Professor Abayomi Fasina, mocked us saying that we should go to court.
“Now, we have asked them to give us the certified copy (of the result) so that we can go to court. Nine days after the elections, they are still being delayed,” Ihejiagwa said.
The head of the INEC Electoral Education and Publicity Department in the state, Emmanuella Opara, addressed the protesters and confirmed that the commission received the LP’s request for a certified true copy of the election results.
Opara said the LP would have to pay a certain amount of money to get the certified true copy as soon as the commission has it ready for the party to pick up.
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“We received your request and noted it down. I want to let you know that it is your right to request the release of the certified true copy and your request is being addressed. We really have to calculate the cost that will be necessary to produce those materials.
“The materials are being assembled as we speak. Then tomorrow we will give you the cost. Once the cost is paid, we will deliver the material to you,” said Mrs. Opara.