Electoral body conducts re-run election in Imo

Cyril Okonkwo, Enugu

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC says all preparations have been made for the successful conduct of re-run elections in the North Senatorial district and some constituencies in Imo State.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Mr Nasir Ayilara told journalists in Owerri, the state capital, that sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been distributed to all the areas where the re-run would take place.

“Preparations have been on for a very long time.  Training of staff has been done, both permanent and ad-hoc,” Ayilara said.

He noted that the distribution of materials was done in the presence of party agents.

The Imo State Police Command has assured that adequate arrangements have been made to ensure a hitch-free election.

The Police Command said it was leaving no stone unturned for a smooth re-run in the affected areas.

State Commissioner of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, who was represented by George Taiwo said; “We want to assure members of the public of the readiness of the Imo State Police Command, in collaboration with other security agencies in the State, of the peaceful conduct of the forthcoming election.”

Election nullified
Saturday’s re-run in the Imo North Senatorial District followed the nullification of result declared in the March 28 2015 election by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Owerri.

INEC had declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Athan Achonu, winner in the election but the candidate of the Accord Party in the election, Mrs Rita Ibemere, petitioned the tribunal, complaining that the electoral body omitted the logo of her party on the ballot paper for election.

The tribunal ruled that the logo of the Accord Party was unjustifiably removed and nullified the election, a decision which was upheld by the Court of Appeal.
The courts also ordered a re-run election.

Straight contest
Although it was the petition of the candidate of the Accord Party, Mrs Ibemere,  that led to the nullification of the election, the re-run is a straight contest between the PDP candidate, Achonu, and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Benjamin Uwajumogu, a former Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly.

The re-run was earlier scheduled for February 20, this year, but was postponed following protests by one of the parties.

There will also be elections Isiala Mbano, Oru East and Oru West State constituencies where results declared in last year’s election were also nullified at the tribunal.