George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The announcement of the result of the Imo State gubernatorial polls which started late Sunday night at the headquarters of the State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ended in chaos in the early hours of Monday, after Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agent Uche Onyeagocha alleged that the result of Ideato South was being doctored by Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Earlier before the commencement of the governorship results, Onyeagocha, a former member of the House of Representatives, had submitted a petition to Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Prof Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, alleging that some aides of the governor, in collusion with the military led by Captain Agbo, had carted away election materials, including the result sheet for Ideato South.
He had also complained that agents of other parties were not allowed into the vote collation centre.
Onyeagocha’s insistence had resulted in an altercation between the agents of the Action Alliance, Pascal Onwukaike and Steve Asimobi, who are personal aides to the Imo state governor, who had insisted that the result of Ideato South must be accepted by the returning officer for the governorship election Prof Francis Otunta, the Vice Chancellor of the Michael Opara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State.
Onyeagocha, who had stood his ground, maintained that it would be impossible to accept a result where the governor had allegedly awarded himself 75,000 as vote cast in his local government to boost the dismal performance of his son-in- law, Uche Nwosu, in the gubernatorial polls.
Most of the agents of the different parties had also testified that they were beaten by the governor’s security aides and were not allowed to access the collation centre at Ideato South.
They had also pointed out that they did not sign any result sheets and that Pascal Onwukaike, who claims to be an agent of the Reformed Alliance Party, is a member of the Action Alliance (AA).
It was at that moment that Onyeaguocha, apparently angered by the indecision of the Returning Officer (RO), stood and tore the result sheet from the hands of Pascal Onwukaike.
Onwukaike had walked to the table of the Returning Officer and taken the entire results of the nine local governments already announced by the collation officers from the councils and accepted by the Returning Officer, tearing it and bolting away before being caught by supporters of AA.
In the ensuing fight between AA and PDP supporters, the RO and the REC were swiftly whisked away from harms way as the collation centre was turned upside down, with journalists and other party agents scampering for safety .
Policemen, however, quickly intervened in the chaos and promptly arrested Onyeagocha and the governor’s aides.
Meanwhile, before the abrupt stop to the collation of the results, PDP’s Emeka Ihedioha was leading other governorship candidates with over 70,000 votes.