When queried, the returning officer, who is a Non Academic Staff of Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) affirmed that he signed the result but could not explain why he suddenly said there was no result for Mbaitoli. He was immediately arrested.
Secondly, the Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the Imo state House of Assembly and Rep-elect for the Ahiazu/Ezinihitte federal constituency, Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe was Wednesday arrested by a combined team of soldiers and the police Anti-Terrorism Squad as he was making his way into the INEC office Owerri. He was arrested for being in possession of electoral material of which youths in area alleged were election results he was smuggling in to sway victory in favour of the incumbent governor.
With all these attempted manipulation, it was not entirely susprising when yesterday morning youths besieged the INEC headquarters demanding the release of the governorship result before it was tampered with by the ruling party. Shielded by stern looking soldiers, the youths insisted on staying around the premises to be sure nothing went wrong.
Trouble however broke out when the angry youths suspected some vehicles trying to enter into the INEC headquarters and accused the occupants of trying to smuggle some electoral results into the commission’s office.
As a result of the misunderstanding that ensued, four vehicles were totally vandalized by the angry youths. It was when soldiers intervened that it was discovered that the occupant of one of the cars, a Toyota Corolla 1.8 capacity was Mrs. Joan Nzeribe, Oguta council chairman and wife of maverick Senator Francis Arthur Nzeribe whom the crowd accused of being behind the electoral conflict in the Oguta and Ohaji Egbema council areas where elections were declared inconclusive. The youth apparently got more enraged when they learnt she was Nzeribe's wife and one of the lead vehicles was from the fleet of the Speaker of Imo state, Mr Goodluck Opiah who had earlier been accused of ballot box snatching in the local governments under dispute.
Desperate efforts to douse the suspicion of malpractice against the government by top official have even yielded more embarrassment as over 20 supposed domestic election observers shepherded into the Multi Purpose Hall of the government house and openly briefed by the Special Adviser to the governor on Electoral Matters, Mr. Steve Asimobi to address press men hit the wall when the observer walked out complaining that government was yet to fulfil their obligations to them.
Also, government officials and appointees have abandoned their official cars for the fear of being harassed or intimidated by angry youths who may view them as part of the plot to subvert their will.
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