Nonsochukwu Uwa, Owerri
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Imo State chapter, has called on anti-graft agencies to investigate Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, over an alleged plot to borrow N354 billion for “vote buying” in the state.
The PDP made this known to newsmen in Owerri, on Friday through the State Publicity Secretary, Collins Opurozor.
The main opposition party alleged that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state had already started the distribution of forms to voters in Imo to collect their bank details and that their Permanent Voter’s Card information to actualise the alleged vote-buying plot.
PDP said: “It is the tradition of our great party to be upfront with you about developments in Imo State. This stems from our abiding commitment to deepening democracy in Imo and ensuring that those who control the reins of state power do so in the most accountable manner.
“Today’s briefing, therefore, offers us the context to assess how the yearnings of Imo people for dividends of democracy have been met in the past three years.
“Recall that a controversial judgment of the Supreme Court on January 14, 2020, created the regime of Senator Hope Uzodinma in Imo State. You all were witnesses to it. Before then, Imo was already moving smoothly on the path of development under the PDP Government of the Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
“Imo people, and indeed Nigerians, were unanimous in their rejection of that judicial travesty. Across Nigeria, patriots came out in their hundreds of thousands to strongly condemn that abominable truncation of the people’s mandate and to stand up for the principle that a people’s right to choose their leader is sacred and inalienable.”
On the alleged vote buying, and rigging of the 2023 elections in Imo, the PDP said: “Even the 2023 budget cobbled together by Senator Uzodinma seems to have been contrived to consolidate his cruelty against Imo people, mortgage the future of many generations yet unborn and take his unbridled treasury looting to the next level. That particular document contains nothing but the innermost intentions of the failed regime to commit the type of financial malfeasance that has never been known in the history of Imo State.
“For instance, the entire receipts from FAAC to the State for the year would be in the region of N70 billion. 13% Derivation Fund would be N9.6 billion. IGR would be N13 billion. And other interventions and grants, including UBEC, would be N28 billion. That brings the total income of the State for the year to about N120.6 billion.
“Yet, Senator Uzodimma is already planning to spend the sum of N475 billion within the year. The deficit of N354 billion would be raised through borrowings. It must be noted that there is no single plan on the ground to execute any project that would meet the basic needs of the Imo people. Rather, the loans would be solely dedicated to expanding Senator Uzodinma’s political war chest and financing sundry other electoral malpractices, including massive vote buying.”
“Already, agents of Imo APC have started distributing forms, requests for bank accounts and PVC details of Imo voters to commence the first phase of this brazen electoral fraud. INEC, NFIU, security and anti-graft agencies must quickly intervene in this matter, halt this “Operation Wire-Wire” institutionalised vote buying in Imo State and prosecute all those involved,” PDP said.