In a press conference held on Sunday in Owerri, the Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) in Imo state, Mr. Callistus Ihejiagwa, expressed strong dissatisfaction with the outcome of the November 11 Governorship Election as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Ihejiagwa asserted that the LP unequivocally dissociates itself from the declared result.
According to Ihejiagwa, the election was marred by “attacks, intimidation, and stiff opposition to the will of the masses,” and he deemed the announced result as unacceptable. He claimed that the LP had petitioned INEC prior to the final collation, citing paragraph 48, sub-paragraphs A and B of the electoral guidelines, regarding the accreditation of voters. However, he alleged that his petition was disregarded, and the collation proceeded.
The LP Chairman further narrated that when he insisted on halting the collation process for the party’s petition to be addressed, he was accused of disrupting the proceedings and physically assaulted by individuals purportedly affiliated with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the presence of security agents.
Referring to the electoral guidelines, Ihejiagwa pointed out that collation should not occur until the Returning Officer confirms that accreditation has been done in accordance with the law. He contended that this section of the law was violated, and the LP was denied the right to a fair hearing despite multiple calls for their petition to be heard well in advance of collation.
The LP Chairman claimed that during the altercation, he was beaten, forcibly removed from the collation hall, and robbed of $1,000 and N50,000 by APC thugs. Instead of addressing the assault, he alleged that the police, including one identified as SP Amaechi Kennedy, detained him in a cell until 11:00 am on Sunday, long after the election results had been announced.
Ihejiagwa emphasized that the LP possesses evidence of the assault, which occurred live on television during the collation process, and vowed to take appropriate measures to seek justice for all the issues raised. Expressing dismay over the perceived failure of security personnel to protect him and INEC’s refusal to hear his petition, he declared that the LP’s candidate, Sen. Athan Achonu, emerged victorious and would prove it in court.
“We took our time to document the anomalies and prepare a strongly worded petition that was never heard, and for this reason, we will be seeking judicial redress. LP completely dissociated itself from the purported result and will challenge it in court, with all our evidence. Our candidate, Sen. Athan Achonu, won this election, and we’ll retrieve the mandate in court,” he affirmed.