A group of election observers accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for the cancellation of the November 11 governorship election in Imo State, citing widespread irregularities and malpractices.
The observers, who spoke to journalists in Owerri on Wednesday, said they witnessed cases of overvoting, vote-buying, hijacking of electoral materials, and uploading of results from polling units where no election took place.
They also accused INEC of conducting the election without using the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in several polling units, which compromised the integrity of the election.
The observers, who represented various civil society organizations, demanded that INEC should address the anomalies that marred the election and conduct a fresh poll that would reflect the will of the people.
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They said they observed that the total number of votes allocated to candidates in over 2,000 polling units was higher than the actual number of accredited voters, as seen in the INEC Result Viewing (IREV) portal.
They also listed some of the local government areas where they claimed the election did not hold or was disrupted by violence, such as Okigwe, Orsu, Orlu, Ehime Mbano, Ikeduru, Oru East, Oru West, Owerri West, Ideato North, and Ideato South.
They alleged that some INEC and police officials colluded with some political actors to manipulate the election in favour of certain candidates.
The observers called on the relevant authorities to investigate and prosecute those who perpetrated the electoral fraud and violence in Imo state.
The election observers who made the call for cancellation included the She for She Initiative for Women and Girl Child, New Dawn for Development Initiatives, International Women and Youth Revival Initiative, Global Hope and Justice for the Less Privileged, Citizens Right for Peace and Good Leadership Initiative, Centre for Child Care and Youth Development, Women with Disabilities of Nigeria Support Foundation, and Women and Youth Empowerment for Global Change Initiative.
According to the results announced by INEC, Governor Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election with 540,308 votes, followed by Samuel Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 71,503 votes, and Athan Achonu of the Labour Party (LP) with 64,081 votes.