The campaign council of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State says the party has uncovered a plot by the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, to rig the 18 March elections in the state.
Greg Ibe, the founder and chancellor of Gregory University, Uturu, is the APGA’s governorship candidate in the state.
The spokesperson of the APGA campaign council in the state, John Nwokocha, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.
Mr Ikpeazu, the state governor, is a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Mr Nwokocha claimed that Mr Ikpeazu, through one of his aides, directed that all the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deployed for the Saturday election in the state should be lodged in the Abia State Government House in Umuahia, the state capital, for “briefings.”
The campaign spokesperson said the party spotted a text message which “expressly mentioned” a personal assistant to the governor and indigene of Obingwa West Local Government Area being directed to oversee the INEC officials’ “welfare”.
“They were said to have been accommodated in an undisclosed hotel in Aba, a commercial city in Abia State. Then, the INEC officials proceeded to the chief of staff to the governor’s lodge in Umuahia,” he claimed.
He said the text message also indicated that an unnamed presiding officer and assistant presiding officer were invited for a meeting on Wednesday at the lodge of the chief of staff for a proper “orientation on how to deceive voters.”
When contacted on Thursday night, the spokesperson to Governor Ikpeazu of Abia State, Onyebuchi Ememanka, refuted the allegations.
“It is not true,” he said of the allegations.
Mr Ememanka said the PDP, as an opposition political party at the national level, could not have been colluding with INEC to rig elections given that the electoral commission is under the national government of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
“So, how can we now be controlling and colluding with an agency of the federal government to rig an election that is holding this Saturday?” Mr Ememanka told PREMIUM TIMES.
The governor’s spokesperson said APGA was only raising a “false alarm” having been aware of its imminent loss at the polls.
He said Mr Ibe had been a member of the PDP since 1999, but only defected to the APGA because of his inability to clinch the PDP governorship ticket in the state.
“Prof. Greg Ibe is an illustrious son of Abia State. But, in this election, nobody is taking him seriously,” he stated.
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