There was confusion at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Owerri, Imo state as a detachment of police team led by the state Police Commissioner, Bolaji Fafowora, invaded the INEC collation centre, and asked the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, to stop announcing the results of last Saturday’s supplementary elections held in Orlu/Orsu/Oru East federal constituency.
The election was stalemated by thugs who invaded the collation centre at Orlu after results from 14 out of 18 polling units had been announced.
Our reporter however learnt that following directive from the INEC headquarters in Abuja, the collation of the remaining four units were being announced so that the eventual winner could be declared before the Police boss approached the REC, asking him to suspend further announcement.
However, his instruction was rebuffed by the REC and other INEC officials in attendance.
It took the intervention of Mrs. Meg Agbamuche, INEC commissioner-in-charge of South-South, who explained the guidelines to the Police commissioner before he allowed the announcement to proceed.
However, as at the time of filing this report, tension was still high as Police officers enter the centre and intermittently ask the INEC officials to stop further announcement. The REC was heard shouting at them, saying, “My friend, can you allow me to do my job?”
The Police commissioner, who was constantly on phone, had to step outside at a point. It was gathered that one of the parties had obtained a court order stopping further announcement, which the Police had probably gone to enforce.
The collation process is still ongoing with heightened apprehension.