Awka – The Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC in Anambra State has rejected the purported recruitment of adhoc staff for the November 6 Anambra State Governorship Election, from higher institutions in Imo State.
The Council comprising the 18 registered political parties that will be participating in the Anambra Governorship election, also raised alarm over alleged plan to move specially-selected INEC staff in the category of Local Government Electoral Officers (EOs) from other states into Anambra State to take over from EOs serving in Anambra State prior to the election.
In an open letter to the National Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, after their meeting in Awka today, the Anambra IPAC also faulted the earlier decision of INEC to store non-sensitive materials for the Anambra election in Owerri, Imo State.
The group said the meeting became imperative, to review certain activities, inimical and capable of truncating the Governorship Election in Anambra State scheduled for the 6th of November 2021.
The state IPAC Chairman, Uchenna Ugwuoji, who read the letter, alleged what it called the clandestine recruitment of INEC – Adhoc Staff for the conduct of the Anambra State governorship election scheduled for 6th November 2021, from tertiary institutions and universities domiciled in Imo State.
According to him, intelligence reports reveal that members and thugs from a particular political party, are being issued identity cards of these tertiary institutions/university, purporting them to be staff of these high institutions and of more concern is the recruitment of the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Science and Technology Owerri (FUTO) and some staff of the University to perform the functions of Returning Officers at various stages of the said election.
“Of further concern to us, is the clandestine plan to move specially-selected INEC staff in the category of Local Government Electoral Officers (EO’s) from other states into Anambra State to take over from Local Government Electoral Officers (EO’s) serving in Anambra State prior to the election.
“We equally find curious and most outlandish the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use its facility in Owerri, Imo State capital for storage of (non-sensitive) materials meant for the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State, citing destruction of INEC office in Anambra State as its reason,” the letter read.
The group rejected the decision of the INEC to use its facility in Owerri, for storage of any election materials in Anambra, saying it is clear to every discerning mind, that Imo State does not provide a better security environment than Anambra State, nor other contiguous states such as Delta and Enugu States for storage of any such election materials.
“Besides in Anambra State, there is a secured branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as it is in Delta and Enugu States where such materials can be stored.
“As we recall, some time ago when the INEC headquarters in Enugu was attacked and destroyed, prior to its governorship election, sensitive and non-sensitive election materials were safely stored at the branch of the Central Bank Enugu from where they were directly distributed to each Local Government Area office in Enugu State.
“We are therefore not convinced that both sensitive and non-sensitive election materials for the November 6, 2021 governorship election cannot be stored at the Awka branch of the Central Bank in Anambra State, from where they could be moved to the INEC State Headquarters in Awka for distribution to Local Government Areas.
“Besides, INEC upon official request to the Minister of Aviation, can get these materials air-freighted into Anambra State through the new Anambra State International Cargo and Passenger Airport at Umueri, Anambra State,” it suggested.
The Anambra IPAC condemned the alleged recruitment of any INEC adhoc staff from any institution in Imo State, alleging that intelligence reports confirm that these staff being recruited to serve as Returning Officers, Presiding Officers and Election Staff/monitors, were being screwed to benefit a particular political party.
“This is more worrisome in the light of the boasting by Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would deploy all means, to win the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State.
“We hereby resolve to resist any election official from Imo State being posted to work in Anambra State at the November 6, 2021 election.
“We would wish the INEC to know that we the IPAC, for ourselves and on behalf of our political parties, do hereby unequivocally condemn, repudiate and reject any attempt by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use Owerri, Imo State capital as the staging-base for the rigging of the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State; as we would use everything within our means to resist any such attempt,” the group concluded.
Other members of the group who spoke explained that they decided to speak out because recent happenings were beginning to align with a statement made by Imo Governor, Hope Uzodimma, that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would deploy all means, to win the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State.