The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called for the prosecution of the Imo State governorship election Returning Officer, Prof. Francis Otunta, alleging that he and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) plunged the state into the political crisis that led to the Supreme Court upturning the result of the election.
The APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who noted that the candidate of the party, Senator Hope Uzodinma, won the March 9 governorship election but Otunta and INEC decided to declare the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Chief Emeka Ihedioha as the winner, said the Returning Officer ought not only to be dismissed but to be picked up by security agencies for interrogation while judges who dispensed justice at the lower tribunals should be made to answer the numerous legitimate questions of Nigerians.
Oshiomhole, who spoke at a news conference in Abuja, was reacting to a statement by the PDP, in which the opposition party asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to resign. He said the purpose of the conference was to respond to “a very reckless and potentially dangerous comment that has been attributed to the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus”. “We watched reckless statement that are designed not only to intimidate the judiciary but one that is calculated to lay foundation for carefully planned unrest with a view to undermining the peace and stability of the Nigerian nation”, he said.
He recalled how the sacked Ihedioha had failed to meet the constitutional requirement of winning 25 percent of votes in at least two-thirds of the local government areas in the state, saying on that score alone, Ihedioha had lost out. He however said the consideration of the voided votes of Governor Uzodinma was what put him in a position to be affirmed as governor of the state.
On the Returning Officer, he said, the key issue in the case of APC and Uzodinma is that INEC and the collating officers bluntly refused to collate the votes in part of Uzodinma’s senatorial zone of Orlu, “About 388 Polling Units votes were not collated. In each of this polling unit, INEC appointed presiding officers who signed those results. The party agents in these 388 units signed those results. So, the validity of those results was never in dispute. “INEC did not have any cause to invalidate the results. All that happened was that the collating officers in those units refused to collate the results from 388 units in the governorship election that were in favour of Sen. Hope Uzodinma”.