INEC declares Imo North senatorial election ‘inconclusive’

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, addressing a stakeholders meeting on 2019 General Elections’ postponement, in Abuja on Saturday (16/2/19). 01462/16/2/2019/Sumaila Ibrahim/BJO/NAN
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu,

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Tuesday “declared inconclusive” the senatorial election in Imo North.

The INEC Public Relations Officer in the state, Emmanuella Opara, confirmed the development, according to Punch Newspaper.

The newspaper said it was reliably informed by an INEC official that “glaring cases of malpractices made the electoral umpire to declare the exercise inconclusive.”

Isiala Mbano, Ihitte/Uboma and Obowo are the three local governments most affected.

With six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and only two federal constituencies, Imo North is relatively the smallest senatorial district in the state.

Elections in many parts of Okigwe South federal constituency of the zone were cancelled, according to the returning officer, Cyril Duru.

He said results of Ehime Mbano LGA was not returned because the collation officer was yet to be seen.

He also listed some polling units in Obowo LGA where elections were cancelled, adding that a new date for the elections will be announced by the commission.

When contacted, Mrs Opara, the INEC spokesperson, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the commission was yet to receive results from three LGAs in the state.

“We don’t have results of three LGAs in Imo North,” she said. She, however, refused to give further details about the development.

Calls to Francis Ezeonu, the Resident Electoral Commission (REC), seeking further clarification were unsuccessful. He was yet to return texts as at press time.

In results announced so far in the zone, Ndubueze Patrick, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the senate race is leading his closest challenger and incumbent senator, Benjamin Uwajumogu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

As it was in many parts of the state, Saturday’s elections in Imo North was fraught with violence and irregularities.

The INEC office in the Isiala Mbano LGA of the district was reportedly set ablaze by suspected political thugs during the elections

There were also reports of ballot box snatching, kidnapping of electoral officers and manipulation of the process in the zone.

The outgoing governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha confirmed incidents of ballot snatching after casting vote in his Ogboko village polling unit.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Okorocha was declared the winner of the Senate seat for Imo West Senatorial District amidst controversy.

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