There was tension yesterday at Uruagu- Nnewi in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State, as the community held election of the Uruagu Nnewi Community Development Union, amid crisis and alleged irregularities. It was learnt that a notable oil dealer, Onyekachukwu Innocent Okoli aka Organizer, was declared President Generalelect in the election held at the palace of the traditional ruler of the community, Obi Afam Obi, amid jubilation from his supporters. However, Okoli’s announcement was greeted by condemnation and protests from supporters of his major opponent, Hon. Eloka Ike.
A member of the Hon. Eloka Ike Campaign Council, Mr. Chetachukwu Okeke, said the election was marred by irregularities and massive rigging. He said: “At the onset of the voting, our principal, Eloka Ike, protested what he saw as high level irregularity in the election process, whereby a member of the Election Committee openly told delegates to vote for one of the contestants, Mr. Innocent Okoli.
When we raised the alarm, the committee, led by Arthur Ngube, ignored us. “We also declared that we had no confidence in a member of the Interim Committee, Obiora Okeke, who we felt was not neutral in the process, but the committee insisted that he had to be part of the election process, because he was a member of the community’s Interim Government. “Even when we saw some members of the committee stuffing the ballot box with papers to give their preferred candidate undue advantage, we raised the alarm, but the committee ignored us. Now, after the election, instead of the total votes being 145, according to the number of accredited delegates, what was got, far outnumbered the number of accredited delegates.” Also, Ike said that irregularities in the election process were obvious and that he would seek redress in court.
He said: “How could the total votes cast be far more than accredited voters. The election committee took decisions that would make me lose the election. Even during the accreditation process, one of the delegates, who was my supporter, could not come.
I begged the committee to allow us to replace him, but they refused.” But the Chairman of the Interim Government and Electoral Committee, Ngube, dismissed the allegations as unfounded. He said: “The election that brought in a new exco for the Uruagu Nnewi Community Development Union was free, fair, just and credible. For the post of PG, Innocent Okoli won the election; showing that he was the people’s choice.”