Nigeria Decides 2019 Politics

‘Returning Officer mental, criminal,’ Gov Okorocha denies rigging Imo elections

PDP accuses Okorocha of selling off 71 government vehicles as scraps

The dust raised by Governor Okorocha’s emergence as Senator-elect may not settle soon. This is as he has called out on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Returning Officer, Professor Innocent Ibeawuchi, who accused him of manipulating the February 23 polls, describing the latter as mentally challenged and criminally minded.

Okorocha has, therefore, dismissed the allegations, insisting he deserved to win the election.

Recall that less than 24 hours after Gov. Rochas Okorocha was declared winner of the Imo West senatorial election, Prof Innocent Ibeawuchi, had alleged that he was forced to declare Okorocha the winner of the poll by the supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate.

Ibeawuchi said, “I was compelled to announce the result which was inconclusive. I am a man of integrity and it is not true that the governor slapped me but I was held hostage by agents working for him. I was manhandled and I thank God I came back alive.”

However, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, the governor described the returning officer as “a bloody liar who may be acting a script”.

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“Having won in nine out of the 12 local government areas announced, we heard that they were trying to move the result sheets to Owerri but when we demanded an explanation, the man (Ibeawuchi) said he was tired and didn’t feel safe, when nobody was threatening him. At the end, we discovered that he didn’t have the declaration sheet. I wonder where this is taking us. I hope INEC would change this system because we will resist them if they try it in the next election,” he said.

The governor added, “They should examine the returning officer to know his mental state. If he doesn’t have a mental illness, then he must be a criminal to ever think of that. How could someone ask you to change the result of an election he has already won? My score is above 90,000 and the nearest to me is slightly above half of it, when you combine both Jones and Izunaso’s votes. They can’t match or contest against me in Imo State not to talk of Orlu zone.

“I asked the Resident Electoral Commissioner here to quickly correct these anomalies. The returning officer is a bloody liar who may be acting a script.”

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