The governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in Imo State, Rochas Okorocha and his Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) counterpart, Ifeanyi Araraume yesterday promised to resist any attempt to manipulate next Tuesday’s governorship election in the state in favour of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The two men spoke during an interactive session between governorship candidates in the state and the Inter-Agency Committee on Election Security in Imo State hosted by the state commissioner of police, Yabo Tambari Mohammed. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the State Security Service, the Military, Immigration, Federal Road Safety Corps, Civil Defence Corps, Customs and other security agencies.
In his statement, Mr Okorocha said all the malpractices noticed during the National Assembly elections had been duly reported to the relevant security agencies and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He however, said his party is yet to receive any response that could reassure it ahead of the governorship election.
While pointing out what he said was a sign of collusion between the police and the ruling party, Mr Okorocha named the former Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu as always endorsing frivolous invitations of opposition candidates to the police to distract them from their campaign. He however warned that any notice of bias on the part of the security agencies in favour of a particular candidate may precipitate crisis in the state.
“If the security agencies, for whatever reasons, resolve to be partisan in the governorship election in Imo State, they must also be prepared to kill innocent Imo people because they would not go unchallenged,” he said. “And if eventually they succeed, the consequence of that evil will definitely catch up with them even in their old age and their children would not be spared in the retributive justice that would follow.”
People will resist bias
In his own submission, Mr Araraume accused the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Goodluck Opiah and the Chief Whip of the House of Representative, Emeka Ihedioha of hijacking electoral materials during the National Assembly (NASS) election. He recalled that on April 2, during the botched NASS election, the governor and a full complement of policemen and soldiers were seen moving around after voting and visited the Isiala Mbano council headquarters in Umuelemai, where he allegedly accosted an Electoral Officer.
While stressing that the governorship election is a peculiar election as it directly affects the people of Imo State, the two-term senator warned that any action on the part of INEC or the security agencies that suggest bias would be resisted at all cost.
He urged the Inter-Agency committee to be alive to their responsibility.
Mr Tambari said the agency has taken note of the sensitive issues raised in the course of the interaction, stating that effort would be made to redress security lapses noticed during previous elections.
“Tactical machinery would immediately be deployed to combat and forestall the challenges raised and ensure a hitch-free governorship poll in the state,” he said.