v   Accuses  Imo governor of attempt to subvert victory

Candidate of the Imo North Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded but still controversial senatorial bye election held in Okigwe zone on Saturday December 4, 2020, Chief Emma Okewulonu, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), of clandestine moves to deny him of his hard won victory in the bye-election.

His complaints were contained in a text he read at a press conference he addressed on Saturday after INEC had declared APC victorious in the election without naming the winner between the contending candidates in Distinguished Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume and Mr. Frank Ibezim.

According to Emma Okewulonu, the aforementioned party and INEC have been busy making frantic and concerted efforts aimed at subverting the will of the people expressed during the now contentious bye-election. He was also of the strong opinion that APC did not contest the said bye-election by reason that the parties candidate, Araraume and his challenger, Frank Ibezim, were at various time and by different courts disqualified from participating in the election. He stated thus; “It is not in doubt that the Saturday 5th December, 2020 senatorial bye-election was never contested by the All Progressives Congress (APC). In other words, the APC, following a series of conflicting court judgments went into that election without a substantive candidate. 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), being fully aware of this undisputed fact, could not therefore, legally announce any person masquerading as the APC’s candidate, as the winner.

It is in fact rather absurd, and an intolerable aberration for INEC to have allowed the APC to even purport to have participated in that election, or to record any votes thereof in its favour. In the history of elections in Nigeria, it has never happened that a political party is declared as an election winner without at the same time announcing the corresponding candidate of that winning party who is to benefit from its victory.

INEC should stop playing the ostrich, and do the needful, in order to safeguard the sanctity and integrity of our electoral process. As an unbiased umpire which it ought to be, INEC should have given life to the series of judicial pronouncements barring the purported two candidates of the APC namely, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and Mr. Frank Ibezim, from the election, as no party ever fields two candidates simultaneously for the same position in the same election.

Consequently, I, Chief Emmanuel Okewulonu demand as follows:

1.      That INEC should immediately declare the PDP, with my humble self as its candidate, as the rightful winner of the 5th December, 2020 Imo North senatorial bye-election, in line with the Electoral Act (as amended). It is indisputable that I won the election in accordance with extant laws.

2.      INEC should, without further delay, comply with the court judgments disqualifying both Senator Araraume and Mr. Frank Ibezim from taking part in the elections. It cannot continue to play a hide and seek game in order to evade the law. APC never participated in the election under review.

3.      No political party fields two candidates for the same position in any election. What the APC did in the just concluded Imo North senatorial bye-election is unlawful, ultra vires, and sets a very dangerous precedence, and stands condemned in its entirety.

Once more, I profusely thank the good people of Okigwe zone for massively voting for the PDP and myself. I wish to assure them that their votes must count, and that their efforts shall not be in vain.

Gentlemen of the press, this is my position. I am also speaking for my good people of Okigwe zone, who have via their votes, demonstrated their absolute confidence in my ability to effectively represent them in the Red Chamber.

We shall not allow anybody to toy with the socio-economic and political future of Okigwe Zone once again. Okigwe Zone must be liberated from the strangle-hold of a dangerous cabal which delights in using the zone as a pawn for its trade by barter business.

Thank you all, and may God bless us all”. However political pundits are of the contrary opinion that with INEC already making their stand public by announcing APC as winner of the election, without naming the candidate, the only option left for the PDP candidate is to go to the tribunal since INEC pronouncements and declarations cannot be reversed, in line with the provisions of the electoral act and other extant laws.