Imo Govt, PDP Clash over CUPP’s Claims on Electoral Manipulation
• Lawmakers declare coalition’s spokesman persona non grata
Amby Uneze in Owerri and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Imo State Government and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday clashed over the claims of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that a legal action had been instituted in the State High Court to stop the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the 2023 general election.
While the state government faulted the claims of the coalition, Imo PDP warned the state government against attacking and harassing the spokesperson of the CUPP, Ikenga Ugochinyere, who made the allegations.
Also, the members of the Imo State House of Assembly from Orlu Zone declared the spokesperson of CUPP, Hon. Ikenga Ugochinyere a persona non grata for revealing the plot to stop the use of BVAS during the 2023 general election.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba; Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chyna Iwuanyanwu and the Publicity Secretary of Imo PDP, Collins Opurozor expressed divergent views in separate sessions in Owerri, Imo State capital yesterday.
The CUPP had, at a news conference by its spokesman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, alleged the plot to stop the use of BVAS for the 2023 general and remove the National Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Worried about the consequence of the allegation, the state government called for the arrest of the spokesman of the CUPP for inciting confusion into the political system.
Addressing a session of journalists, Emelumba said Ugochinyere, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had a case to answer as to how he got the privy of the INEC on voter registration which according to INEC had not been concluded.
Emelumba said ignoring the spurious and seditious outburst of Ugochinyere would amount to condoning criminality, thereby calling the relevant security agencies to immediately arrest him and find out from him how he obtained the voters register he had been parading before the public.
He explained that the electoral commission “has issued an official statement on the above and has gone further to list the names of the States that entered fictitious registration of voters and Imo State is not on that list.
“Ugochinyere must have either hacked INEC Saver and doctored documents there-from or forged the document he was brandishing. This is criminal and it is important that he should be immediately arrested for questioning.”
At another media session yesterday, the lawmakers from Orlu Zone described Ugochinyere as one who does not want development and progress of the zone.
Speaking on behalf of the lawmakers, Iwuanyanwu noted that Ugochinyere “has nothing to campaign with except to blackmail and tarnish the image of Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma. However, he is on a mission impossible.
“It is with mixed feelings that we, members of the Orlu caucus of the Imo state House of Assembly, address the press today. As you know, Orlu is the largest caucus of lawmakers from 12 Local Government Areas in Orlu zone, irrespective of political affiliations.”
Warning the state government against harassing Ugochinyere yesterday, Imo PDP observed that Ugochinyere “should not be jailed for displaying such patriotism that has never been seen in modern Nigeria. Uzodinma further sought to drag our candidate into the insecurity miasma in Imo State.
“What is pressing to quickly state is that, by yet again politicising the horrible security situation in the Imo and attempting to bring our candidate into it, our suspicion is further enriched, that the bloodshed in parts of Imo is willfully left to fester by the Governor so as to profit from it and destroy his perceived political foes.
“Imo PDP, therefore, warns that no attack, threat, or harassment of Ikenga Ugochinyere by the failed regime of APC in Imo State will be tolerated. Not a single hair shall fall from his head, not a scratch found on his body.
“For Imo PDP, it is sheer audacity in criminality for the Governor to still find his voice to issue threats when by now he is supposed to be telling Nigerians his role in this treasonable offence which seeks to truncate our democracy.
“Nigerians must rise to defend our democracy. They must no longer sit back and watch Governor Uzodinma sabotage all the efforts made to advance the frontiers of democracy in the country through groundbreaking electoral reforms. What has happened with the compromise of the voters register is pure treason, and it must be known and treated as such.
“Our party calls on security agencies to immediately place the Governor on security watchlist and commence painstaking investigations into his activities, as he has become a clear and present danger to our democracy and national security,” Imo PDP said in a statement.