Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Imo State governorship election has come and gone, but the candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), Uche Nwosu, thinks the contrary as he has vowed to reclaim his mandate. He alleged that there was a gang up against him, just as he attempts to name those involved in this interview.
What is your reaction to the recent declaration of Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP as winner of the 2019 governorship election in Imo?
First of all, let me thank the good people of Imo for coming out en masse to vote for me; the result is totally unacceptable and the proclamation by the Returning Officer, the Vice Chancellor of Umudike University, will not stand. Reason being that the candidate of the PDP that was declared winner was not able to make 2/3 of the entire votes in the entire local government areas in Imo State and the constitution is very clear on this.
The constitution states that, for you to be declared winner in any election, especially that of the governor and president, you must at least score 2/3 not only in the local government but also in the ward. Emeka Ihedioha was not able to make 13 local government areas and you know that, 2/3 of 27 local government areas should be 18 and he was not able to make even 15 local government areas. He made only 13, so, the Returning Officer declaring Emeka Ihedioha winner is unacceptable; we would follow it to the tribunal.
To me, it is a stolen mandate; we should get our mandate back. Secondly, it was very clear that the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Imo State was against AA. In the three local government areas of Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise and Ezinihite Mbaise, no Card Reader was used; results were manipulated, result was written outside the INEC offices in these three local government areas, and the REC knew about it. It is unacceptable and we would also go to the tribunal, we are going to fight it out at the tribunal. I think the Imo REC was totally partisan in this process which is not acceptable by the leadership of AA; we are going to go to the tribunal and by the special grace of God; we would reclaim our stolen mandate because the constitution is very clear you cannot take what belongs to another person and give it to another person.
What do you think was wrong with the entire electoral process and how do you think it can be improved upon?
One, on the issue of Smart Card Reader, they were not strict on the issue of Card Reader, like in some places in Imo State, particularly my own area; we were strict on Card Reader and we followed the use of Card Reader but some areas where the REC felt he had some interest like Aboh Mbaise, Ezinihite Mbaise and Ahiazu Mbaise, there was no use of Card Reader and I challenge them to produce that Card Reader let us see if 60 thousand voters were to vote and they were able to finish their result within four hours. It is not something that you can call magic, it is there and you can see it, I think the Chairman of INEC should investigate it.
As you head to the court; do you really have confidence in the judiciary?
I don’t have any fear in the judiciary; we are very certain that with the judiciary, we would take our mandate back, it is the federal constitution, it is not Ugwumba’s constitution neither is it Action Alliance constitution. It is clearly written in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, article 179, it is very clear that you can never be declared winner even in INEC rules, it is there, that you cannot declare any person winner in any election until the person meets the criteria. So, you have not met the criteria and you are being declared the winner, under whose authority? We believe in Nigerian judiciary, the justice will take place but what I have to state is that there was robbery of the mandate of Action Alliance. You can imagine when the Returning Officer was declaring him, he said after fulfilling all the constitution requirements and he refused to read the items one by one; he just said after fulfilling, did he fulfil the 2/3 in the entire local government areas, what has he fulfilled for you to declare him winner? I think the Returning Officer would be part of the case because he needs to tell us how the man was able to fulfil the constitution and the requirements met for him to be declared as a winner.
Do you feel any sense of sabotage by your people?
There was no sabotage, our members worked very hard, the sabotage was coming from the REC, the REC was totally partisan, he is a member of PDP and you know he finished from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, where he was a lecturer, so, he purposely went and brought workers from Nnamdi Azikiwe University to do the work as Collation Officers and Returning Officers. Meanwhile, we have federal institutions in Imo, we have FUTO, Alvan Ikokwu; Federal Poly Nekede; he did not see anybody fit to handle this in Imo State, he went to his own school, knowing very well that the VC of that institution is from Mbaise, so, you can see the gang up, the Vice Chancellor of UNIZIK is from Mbaise, the VC brought people that he trusts to work for Emeka Ihedioha. It is a clear case of gang up which will not stand the test of time, we shall reclaim our mandate.