‘Under duress’, INEC official declares Okorocha winner of senatorial election

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The returning officer for Imo West Senatorial District, I.I. Ibeabuchi, has declared outgoing governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, winner of the Senate seat.

Mr Ibeabuchi, a professor, however, said he was “forced” to declare the results at the Imo West election collation centre in Orlu INEC office.

PREMIUM TIMES had Sunday night reported how Mr Ibeabuchi, a professor, stopped the collation after announcing nine out of the 12 local governments in the district, saying he had been directed to “return to Owerri, the state capital.”

He was however held up at the centre by supporters of Mr Okorocha who insisted he must complete the announcement.

Mr Okorocha, the candidate of the APC, had won eight out the nine already collated local governments.

On Monday morning, however, the returning officer finally yielded and announced the three remaining results.

 

Mr Okorocha won two but lost one of the last three LGAs.

By the results, the governor won 10 of the total 12 LGAs, making him the ‘winner’ of the elections.

The results came shortly after Mr Okorocha stormed the collation centre with a contingent of police officials. He tried to persuade Mr Ibeabuchi to complete the results. The professor initially refused to bulge.

Journalists and observers were initially chased out of the centre.

Shortly after Mr Okorocha left, his closest challenger, Jones Onyeriri, also visited the centre.

Security officials are firing teargas to disperse crowd of party officials in the midst of the controversy at the collation centre.

Mr Ibeabuchi is being questioned by party agents to explain why he said he declared the results “under duress.”

The elections in Imo West is adjudged by observers as fraught with irregularities.

More details to come…

Premium Times

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