Owerri - Angry supporters of People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday demonstrated against alleged 'irregularities' in the governorship and state assembly elections in Imo on Saturday.
The demonstrators, mostly youths and women, blocked one lane off Okigwe Road in Owerri, directly in front of the PDP Secretariat in Imo and carried placards with various inscriptions.
Some placards read: "Okorcha must go, INEC should allow the mandate of Emeka Ihedioha, Imo People are tired of Okorocha’s fraudulent system and PDP is the winner of April 11 polls in Imo."
The spokesman for the group, Livinus Njoku, said the demonstrators were PDP supporters from various parts of Imo who came to demonstrate against alleged irregularities in the elections.
Njoku claimed that the result of the governorship election announced by INEC did not reflect the true results collated by parties that took part in the exercise.
He said "PDP’s candidate Emeka Ihedioha won Okorocha landslide.
"We institutionalised a mechanism to collate the results the way people voted, but that did not conform to what INEC announced from various local government areas which made them declare the election inconclusive," he said.
Njoku said it was a surprise that rather than INEC allow the Imo electorate decide who would govern them, it decided to abridge the process by changing the figures and declaring the election inconclusive.
He explained that the group’s mission at the PDP office was to get approval from the leadership of PDP to go and demonstrate at INEC and major streets in Owerri.
Addressing the group, the Chairman of PDP in the state, Chief Nnamdi Anyaehie, said it was regrettable that APC supporters hijacked ballot boxes and changed elections results from different locations.
"We got a series of reports where APC supporters snatched ballot boxes, promoted violence and other sundry misconducts during the April 11 polls across Imo,’’ Anyaehie said.
Also read: PDP wary at elections marred by irregularities
He called on PDP supporters to remain calm and act responsibly, saying, "PDP has raised a formal protest to INEC on the irregularities that characterised the conduct of April 11 polls in the state.
"All we are advising is that everybody should return to his or her home since PDP has already protested to INEC and we hope something will be done.
"As responsible citizens, we do not need to take laws into our hands, we must allow the law to take its course."
Anyaehie said that the party had yet to take a position on the inconclusive declaration of Imo governorship result but expressed the hope that the interlude would enable INEC to unravel series of fraud perpetrated by the APC.
Meanwhile, Elias Osim, Head Voter Education and Public Enlightenment of INEC in Owerri said the commission would address the media on the matter within the week.
"For now, I do not have the mandate to speak on that issue, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Gabriel Ada just left for Abuja and will address a press conference as soon as he returns on Wednesday," Osim said.
Chief Iheukwumere Alaribe, the Director-General of Rochas Okorocha Campaign Organisation, dismissed the claim by PDP.
"What PDP is doing is a mere pretentious claim; they are actually the party that promoted fraud during the elections on Saturday.
"In Mbaise, for example, PDP governorship candidate did not score up to 200, 000 votes but they engaged men from Aguleri who wore red uniforms to intimidate and harass people during the elections," he said.