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Chief Athan Achonu, Labour Party Governorship Candidate

Imo guber: INEC frustrating moves to inspect BIVAS – Sen. Achonu laments

After 19 days of the conduct of the governorship election in Imo State, candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the election, Sen. Athan Achonu has raised alarm that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is frustrating every attempt to inspect the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System (B-VAS) used during the conduct of the exercise.

Recall that Presidential Candidate of the same party Peter Obi on Monday lamented that several months after the Supreme Court delivered judgement on the Presidential election, he is yet to get a Certified True Copy (CTC) after he requested and made payments for it.

Sen. Achonu, in a chat with the media in Abuja on Wednesday wondered why the electoral umpire is foot dragging in allowing him access to the materials knowing full well that he has limited time to tender his evidence before the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

The former lawmaker, who claims that he won the election, said that the delay in releasing the BVAS for inspection may be part of the plans by the ruling party to force him to file his petitions out of time and get his matter struck out on technical grounds.

He said, “What is happening right now is that we went to the Tribunal, got an order for us to be allowed to inspect the BVAS. INEC has refused to let us inspect the BVAS up till now. Lawyers and experts were hired at a very huge cost per day N30 million, they are not allowing us to inspect it despite court order”.

The governorship candidate called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu whom he described as a democratic who went through the trenches to ensure that democracy returns to the country, to intervene and compel INEC to do the right thing. He said that Tinubu’s antecedent as one who fought for democracy is the only thing sustaining his desire to seek justice at the tribunal.

“What gives me confidence is that Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu was on the streets for June 12. He made us believe that he was a democrat fighting for justice, freedom of choice and equal opportunity.

“Well he is in the same party with Sen. Hope Uzodimma but this country shouldn’t be about party, it should be about quality of persons, what you represent. I was in the senate with the first Lady, Sen. Remi Tinubu. I know the kind of person she is. A person of integrity, how can they allow this kind of thing to happen under their watch?” he queried.

Sen. Achonu said that the INEC Chairman during the stakeholders meeting held before the election pledged that election result collations will start from the ward to the local government before the state, but lamented that collation never took place in any ward. He accused INEC of colluding with the ruling party in the state to announce results that were not signed even when party agents were raising objections as to the credibility of those results.

“When we came to the stakeholders meeting, we told the INEC chairman Prof. Mahmoud that there are certain things he needs to put in place for a smooth election. One is the removal of the REC. Secondly is that collation must take place at the ward level, local government level before the state level. We insisted that the result sheets must be signed by three officers, a national commissioner, the REC and each EO will sign that of his local government so that there will be no manipulation of the result sheets and he agreed.

“But surprisingly on the election day, there was no collation at the ward level and even in some local governments. They moved everything to the state and in those places where there was insecurity and no election, results were collated, there were cluster voting in Orsu” Achonu lamented.

The LP candidate, however, expressed hope that he will get justice from the judiciary, saying that all hope was not lost.

He said, “I still have belief and faith in the survival of this country. I still know that there are some men of integrity within the judiciary. These are men who hold the power of life and death over us. These are men who are supposed to live above reproach. There must be one or two of them, I hope I come across one of them in my case. I still believe in this country no matter what anybody says. Something will happen. Yes, I have come across a lot of men of integrity in this country. I want to think that this will be the first test case of the judiciary. Let’s see what happens,” he said with an air of matchless confidence.

 

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Obiora Ifoh
Nps

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