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Ngor Okpala By-Election: PDP Condemns Abduction Of INEC Staff, Ballot Snatching

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Imo State, weekend, alleged that Gov Hope Uzodinma was behind ‘the abductions, violence, snatching of ballot boxes, shootings and widespread electoral fraud’ during the Ngor Okpala State Constituency by-election held on Saturday, 26th February, 2022.

The state chairman of the party, Charles Ugwu, stated this in a release made available to THE WHISTLER in Owerri.

Ugwu alleged that, “In a brazen show of force, members of APC, including appointees of the Hope Uzodinma-led government, APC members of the Imo State House of Assembly and House of Representatives, invaded Ngor Okpala with a combined team of the Police, Army, Navy, DSS, Uzodinma’s militia group, Hopism Strike Force, and over seventy buses of armed thugs to unleash terror on innocent voters in Ngor Okpala.

“In that orgy of violence, INEC staff as well as PDP members and innocent voters were kidnapped, while others were beaten to a pulp and left half-dead in their pool of blood.

“The Gestapo-like manner traversed Ngor Okpala from Umuowa, Umuneke, Imerienwe, Logara and continued to the rest of the wards, leaving in their trail, pain, anguish and destruction like an invading army.

“They carted away electoral materials and took them into the residences of some APC leaders and to the Santiago Hotels located near the Sam Mbakwe Airport along Owerri-Aba road where they perpetrated the electoral heist. The ballot papers were thumb-printed right in the hotel and results computed.”

Ugwu claimed that the PDP candidate in the election, Mr Emeka Jeff Nwachukwu, was placed under house arrest with armoured tanks stationed in front of his residence at Umuneke ‘while armed thugs shot sporadically to scare away voters from exercising their franchise’.

He however commended the electorate for their ‘undying spirits’. According to him, they ‘defied the intimidation to cast their votes for our party, only for invading army to return at points of collation to snatch results sheets’.

The PDP chairman alleged that, “Notorious among the kingpins in this criminality were Amara Iwuanyanwu, deputy speaker, Imo State House of Assembly; Chinasa Nwaneri, special adviser, special duties to Governor Uzodinma; Kennedy Ibeh, speaker, Imo State House of Assembly; Pastor Chike Okafor, member, House of Representatives; Miriam Onuoha, Macdonald Ebere, state chairman of APC, and Blyden Amajirionwu, one of the candidates of the APC.

“These persons were captured on camera while carting away BVAS machines and other electoral materials at some polling units.”

The PDP therefore condemned what it termed ‘the manipulation and acquiescence of the heads of the security agencies in Imo State, who have allowed themselves to be used to subvert the wishes of the innocent, vulnerable and hapless citizens’.

It continued, “The leadership of security agencies in Imo must know that power belongs to the people and must desist from being tools in the hands of illegitimate and desperate politicians who are bent on setting the state on fire for their inordinate political ambitions.”

It therefore prayed INEC to “scrutinise and summarily reject results of those contentious polling units where APC agents perpetrated these violent acts were reported.

“Resist every attempt to induce, intimidate them to lending itself to the obnoxious agenda of denying the people the right of choosing their representatives, in exercise of their democratic rights and civic duties.”

The statement called on INEC ‘to demonstrate patriotic bravery and declare our candidate, Emeka Jeff Nwachukwu, winner of this election’.

The party commended Professor Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, Imo State resident electoral commissioner and the commission’s staff for ‘resisting these invaders and standing up to the truth’.

It further demanded ‘the immediate arrest of all the appointees, allies, associates and agents of APC and Gov Uzodinma who have been identified in the shameful abductions, violence and electoral fraud in Ngor Okpala’.

 

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Ukraine Crisis: Poland To Boycott World Cup Play-off Against Russia

 

Poland will boycott their World Cup play-off against Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine, with captain Robert Lewandowski saying “we can’t pretend that nothing is happening”.

Polish football association president Cezary Kulesza has said the team “does not intend” to play the game.

Russia are due to host Poland in Moscow on 24 March, while Ukraine travel to Scotland on the same day.

“The right decision,” tweeted Lewandowski.

Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski, 33, who is his country’s all-time highest goalscorer, added: “I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian national team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues. Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.”

Sweden are also in the play-offs where, they will meet the Czech Republic. The winner of that tie could meet Russia for a place at the World Cup finals, which get under way in Qatar in November.

On Thursday, Fifa said it would monitor the situation after Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic said in a joint statement that play-off matches should not be played in Russia.

“No more words, time to act.” tweeted Kulesza on Saturday.

“Due to the escalation of the aggression of the Russian Federation towards Ukraine, the Polish national team does not intend to play the play-off match against Russia.

“This is the only right decision. We are in talks with the Sweden and Czech Republic to present a common position to Fifa.”

Other members of the Poland squad, including Leeds United midfielder Mateusz Klich and Southampton defender Jan Bednarek, posted messages on social media which outlined their position.

“It is not an easy decision but there are more important things than football,” read the collective statement.

The Poland players also highlighted the case of team-mate Tomasz Kedziora, who plays for Ukrainian club Dynamo Kyiv and is still in the Ukrainian capital.

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