… as PDP Reps candidate wants Police to beef up security ahead of re-run
Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Obinna Chidoka seeking re-election for Idemili North and Idemili South Federal Constituency has called on security agents in Anambra to ensure adequate security ahead of re-run election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in his constituency.
Idemili North and South Federal Constituency was the only Constituency out of the 11 constituencies in Anambra whose result was declared inconclusive after Feb. 23 election by INEC.
Chidoka, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election told newsmen on Sunday in Obosi that adequate security should be on ground to forestall a repeat of Feb. 23 disruption.
The lawmaker decried the harassment and injuries inflicted on innocent electorate and election officials especially corps members by gunmen allegedly backed by a candidate in the election.
“During the Feb. 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections, I cast my vote peacefully about 10 am and left, at 1pm, I received a distress call that armed thugs were at School of Health, Obosi beating up people destroying and carting away election materials.
“My people identified the leader of the group, invited security agencies who repelled the hoodlums and stopped them from causing further commotion.
“Around 6pm I got several calls that the same candidate that masterminded the attack was going from polling unit to polling unit in Odume to snatch INEC materials and setting them on fire.
“The ugly incident also took place in Awada, where a clergy man sent us message to come and witness the election materials that were scattered there which we later brought to the collation centre.
“At Chuke Memorial Primary school collation centre, around 10 pm the gunmen stormed the venue and started shooting again, they destroyed result sheets and carted away materials making it difficult for collation of results in Obosi,” he said.
He said it was for this obvious incident of insecurity that he was appealing to security agents especially the police to ensure adequate security during the re-run election which has been scheduled by INEC for March 9.
Chidoka, however, expressed concern that INEC was able to use the copies of polling units results produced by Anambra Police Commissioner to collate and declare the presidential and Anambra Central Senatorial elections, but failed to do so for his constituency.
He said the results of 26 polling units all in Obosi were missing, but wondered why some polling units in Abatete also in Idemili North where there was no violence were cancelled and scheduled for repeat.
Chidoka said the antics were aimed at denying him the mandate given to him by the people but insisted that the electorate in the area were willing and committed to back his re-election bid due to his performance and political pedigree.
“INEC requested the Police to bring their duplicate copies and they did but we found out that duplicates of Idemili North and Idemili South Federal constituency election was not complete,” he said.
Chidoka called for the arrest, investigation and prosecution of those involved in the violence and their sponsors to serve as deterrent for potential electoral law violators.
According to him, more than six persons are in various hospitals with serious injuries. “I went to see a a poll official who lost her pregnancy in an attempt to escape from the gunmen, she has been operated upon.
“The good people of Idemili especially Obosi are not feeling safe, they feel terrorised by the activities of these thugs who are sponsored by desperate politician and candidate in this election, who brags he has powers to do anything to scale through the contest.
“We are calling on the Police and other security agencies to ensure that lives and property of the good people of Idemili who want to carry out their civil responsibility are protected”, he said.
Chidoka appealed to INEC to equally make adequate arrangements to conclude the exercise in the area to enable people who returned home for the election to participate before returning to their places of business.
Confirming the violence, SP Mohammed Haruna said no fewer than 14 persons were arrested in relation to thuggery during the election in Anambra.