George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Osita Izunaso Senatorial Campaign Organisation has accused Governor Rochas Okorocha of engaging the services of young Hausa men for thumb printing ballot papers ahead of the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Senator Osita Izunaso is the senatorial candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) for Imo West.
The Legal Adviser to Izunaso, Prince Orji Nwafor- Orizu, who stated this at a press conference in Owerri, said that his client being a law-abiding citizen had decided to alert the public on the alleged ongoing thumb printing of ballot papers at the Spibat residence of Governor Okorocha who is also the senatorial candidate of the APC in the election.
Nwafor-Orizu also disclosed that the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Imo state, the police and the Department of State Services, have all been notified about the alleged thumb printing of ballot papers.
“This press conference which is called at the instance of my client, Senator Osita Izunaso, who is the senatorial candidate of APGA in 2019, is to inform the public that Governor Rochas Okorocha is currently busy thumb printing ballot papers in his Spibat residence in Amakohia, Owerri.
We have evidence from one of the security guards who is a Hausa man who has been away since last Saturday. He later called to tell his boss who is a member of our campaign team that they were at Spibat where they had been paid to thumbprint ballot papers and that is still ongoing as we speak. We have already written to the security agencies and to the Imo REC on this matter.”
He added: “Take notice of the fact that Governor Okorocha is also a senatorial candidate of APC for the Imo West (Orlu Zone).”
However, Governor Rochas Okorocha has dismissed the allegation as frivolous accusing Sen. Osita Izunaso of being not only a frustrated man but one of the most unpopular and colourless politicians in the state.
He maintained that he had never been associated with rigging and thuggery ever since he started partisan politics
According to the Imo state governor’s aide Sam Onwuemeodo, “Rochas Okorocha won elections in 2011 and 2015 respectively through the ballot. Osita Izunaso is one of the most unpopular and colourless politicians in the state. He is not an attractive politician to any voter in the state.
Governor Okorocha has campaigned in the 12 local governments of Orlu Zone. Ditto in all the zones and the state in general for President Muhammadu Buhari and other candidates of APC but Izunaso has never campaigned anywhere.
“Osita Izunaso has seen defeat staring him in the face. He went and stole the ticket of APGA and the owners of APGA have abandoned the party for him and others like him and today they are on their own. Izunaso has nothing to tell the people of Orlu Zone to earn their votes.
“He is an outstandingly stingy man who does not believe in empowerment. His contesting election against Rochas Okorocha who has monumental achievements to brandish in the state and in Orlu Zone in particular and who has made a lot of people is suicidal. He knows he has lost his deposit as far as Saturday’s election is concerned. And he is only shedding crocodile tears out of frustration.
“So, alleging that Okorocha is planning to engage thugs or rig election is expected from a weak politician like Izunaso who eats alone.”
When contacted, Mrs. Emmanuelle Opara, spokesperson for INEC, said that the alleged thumb printed papers could not have come from INEC as they had retrieved all materials earlier distributed.