The LP chairperson broke down in tears midway into a press briefing.
The Chairperson of the Labour Party (LP) in Imo State, Callistus Ihejiagwa, has said that Saturday’s election in the state was characterised by “attacks, intimidation and stiff opposition to the will of the masses”.
Mr Ihejiagwa said this on Tuesday in Owerri, when he briefed reporters on his attack and humiliation by political thugs inside the INEC Collation Centre.
He said that his five-year-old son “is still traumatised from memories of my physical assault at the INEC collation centre”.
The LP chairperson, who is a legal practitioner, broke down in tears midway into the briefing.
He said, “My wife and children are yet to recover from the pain of watching him on live television being beaten up and thrown out of the hall like a common criminal.”
According to him, all these happened while heads of security agencies at the collation centre looked on.
Mr Ihejiagwa described the result of the election announced by INEC as unacceptable.
Citing paragraph 48 (A) (B) of the Electoral Guideline, Mr Ihejiagwa said that before the commencement of the final collation, he petitioned INEC over the manner of accreditation of voters but that his petition was ignored as the commission proceeded with the collation.
He further said that when he insisted that collation be halted for his party’s petition to be heard, he was accused of disrupting the process.
“It was at this point that some thugs manhandled me without the intervention of the heads of security agencies, who were all present at the collation centre.
“Paragraph 48, sub-paragraphs A and B, of the Electoral Guideline says that collation shall not be done until the Returning Officer confirms that accreditation has been done in line with the provisions of the law.
“This section of the law was contravened and we were denied the inalienable right to a fair hearing, despite several calls for our petition to be heard almost two hours before the start of collation, with the Returning Officer, Prof. Abayomi Fasina, insisting that he could not entertain the petition.
“With the Returning Officer’s insistence, thugs beat me up, threw me out of the hall and robbed me of N50,000, which I had on me.
“Police officers, one of whom I identified as SP Amaechi Kennedy, rather than arrest those who assaulted me, took me to the police station where I was eventually detained in a cell and only released by 11.00 a.m. on Sunday after the announcement of the result, for a crime I was never told,” Mr Ihejiagwa said.
He said the LP had all evidence of the assault, which happened on live TV coverage, during collation and would take appropriate measures to seek justice for all the matters raised.
“We carefully documented the anomalies and prepared a strongly-worded petition that was never heard and for this reason, we will be approaching the court,” he said.
Mr Ihejiagwa further said that results were uploaded for places where elections did not hold, “leading to unrestrained overvoting, hence the need to thoroughly review the result.
“A total of over 500,000 votes were cast for the APC alone as announced by INEC, yet only about 300,000 persons were duly accredited as evidenced in the server, meaning that the record of accreditation does not tally with results as presented,” he said.
He called for a review of the result of the election, to set the records straight.