The Civil Society Election Situation Room sitting in Owerri wishes to issue this preliminary statement on the supplementary election for the Imo Governorship and State House of Assembly.

Background
: -The supplementary election was conducted against the background of great public expectations that the anomalies that led to the declaration of the election as ‘inconclusive’ would be rectified. These expectations arose from the belief that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would mobilize all resources at its disposal to conduct free, fair and credible elections in four local government area councils. The expectations were further heightened by INEC’s decision to post four national commissioners and four RECs to supervise the elections, in addition to mobilizing presiding officers from adjoining states given the allegations of complicity of INEC officials in the ‘inconclusive’ elections. The federal government itself further deployed 10,000 policemen to ensure adequate security.
 
Observations:  Given the above, the Civil Society Election Situation Room wishes to express its profound disappointment at INEC’s performance so far. Our main preliminary conclusion is that the events witnessed by our observers point to the suspicion that the election was programmed to fail.
 
Our observations are as follows:
1.    Voting materials in Mbatoli and Ngor Okpala arrived between 11.30 am and 12.00 pm, when accreditation of voters was due to end. Moreover, in a number of cases the materials were incomplete.

2.    The process appeared further compromised by evidence of ballot thumb-printing in favour of PDP at the INEC office in Oguta 1. Surprisingly, Dr. Ishmael Igbani, the national commissioner, as well as a senior police officer, were in the vicinity of the incident and did nothing to stop the situation when notified of the discovery.

3.    Reports of the arrests of political stalwarts, including a LGA chairman in Ngor Okpala and a newly elected representative in Oguta over suspicions of thumb-printing.

4.    Alleged complicity of security agencies in ballot-snatching and thumb-printing in at least three polling units in Mbaitoli, Ngor Okpala and Ohaji Egbema LGAs.

5.    Attempts by activists of the PDP to stop alleged non-natives who duly registered from voting in Orji, Owerri North LGA.

6.    In Polling Unit 17, Ward 4, Okpala village, Ngor Okpala LGA voters refused commencement of voting when they discovered that the Presiding officer wanted to use a Ghana-must-go bag in lieu of the absent ballot box.

7.    Rising tension in many communities as anxious voters eager to exercise their franchise expressed vociferous concern over a grand plot to manipulate the elections.

We make bold to observe that these reports raise queries over the credibility of the election. INEC and security agencies need to be aware of these developments ahead of the collation and announcement of results.
6 May 2011, 4.00 p.m.
 
 
For: Elections Situation Room
 
Dr Jibrin Ibrahim                                                                    Clement Nwankwo
Executive Director                                                                  Executive Director
Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)         Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC)

Tel: 0803 4001200                                                                  Tel: 0803 8899999
 
 

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