The Labour Party in Imo State has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of denying its candidate in the November 11 governorship election in the state, Senator Athan Achonu, access to certified true copies of documents used for the election as required by law.
The opposition party made the accusation on Saturday in a statement signed by the Director of Media and Publicity for the Senator Athan Achonu Campaign Organisation, Chibuikem Diala.
“Our notice has been drawn to mischievous plans by Imo State INEC under Prof. Sylvia Agu to deny our legal team access to certified true copies of documents used for the November 11 governorship election in Imo State as required by law,” the statement said.
“This is after an official request has been made by our solicitors to the State INEC Office, duly acknowledged and received on November 15, 2023.
“It is pertinent at this stage to alert the national chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies of these devious delay tactics, which may be to further deny our party and the candidate of the Labour Party in the November 11 election justice. This is unacceptable and we request that INEC do the needful immediately, as time is of the essence.
“Some pertinent questions begging for answers include: If INEC does not have anything to hide and is willing to come to equity with clean hands, why then delay the release of the CTC of requested materials?” the party said.
The Labour Party further said that INEC was so efficient in announcing the results of 27 local government areas in less than 12 hours after the elections and wondered why it was taking the same INEC over 144 hours to issue the documents backing its pronouncements. It said it expected a better and more efficient approach from the electoral body.
“We only hope that this delay is not a decoy by Imo State INEC and agents of the APC-led government to perfect their rigging by tampering with sensitive materials in INEC office. This strategy to deny the people of Imo State the opportunity to have a leader of their choice will not work, as we call on INEC to do the needful and stop taking Imolites for granted,” the party said in the statement.
“Therefore, we also call on the security agencies and INEC, led by Prof. Mahmoud, to do all they can to ensure that the certified true copies are released as requested and timely too.
“While we wait for INEC to do the needful speedily, we further assure the caretaker governor in Imo State to enjoy his ‘Certificate of Return’ only for a moment as he will soon return it to the rightful owner,” it said.