Ugo Nosiri, Owerri
Supporters of the Labour Party, LP, in Imo State have stormed the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Owerri, over alleged refusal to grant the party access to documents used for the November 11 governorship poll.
The LP candidate in the off-cycle governorship election, Senator Athan Achonu, had alleged that the Commission had refused to grant him access to certified true copies of the election materials.
Speaking with newsmen during the protest, LP state chairman, Callistus Ihejiagwa, said the party supporters were at the INEC office to protest against the attitude of the Resident Commissioner in the state, Professor Sylvia Agu.
The LP chairman Mr. Ihejiagwa who addressed the journalists on a wheelchair, said, the Commission has continued to deny their legal team access to certified true copies of documents used for governorship election in the state as required by law, nine days after an official request was made by the party’s counsels.
“We have come to INEC to express our deep frustration at what is going on. Nine days ago I was beaten up and thrown out of the hall like a common criminal while INEC and heads of security agencies in the state looked on. We were mocked and asked to go to court.
“INEC was so efficient in announcing the results of 27 LGAs in less than 12 hours after the elections, why then is it taking the same INEC over 144 hours to issue the documents backing their pronouncements?”
“Nine days after, they have refused us access. Why then are they delaying the release of the CTC of requested materials?”
Ihejiagwa said he was yet to recover from being beaten up and thrown out of the collation center by All Progressives Congress thugs during the collation of election results, while security agents looked on.
Head of the Department of Voter Education and Publicity of INEC in Imo State, Mrs. Emmanuella Ben-Opara, while addressing the protesters, said INEC had received the LP application, and that it was being attended to.
She said: “It’s your right to request for CTC. The materials are being assembled as we speak. We are already costing the material and by tomorrow we’ll give you the cost for payment.”