Call for total cancellation, condemn police harassment, disenfranchisement of voters

Obiyo Campaign Organization, a campaign outfit for Mr Obiyo Oparaku, one of the contestants for the Amawom Youth Chairmanship position, has rejected the outcome of Amawom Youth Organization election held on Sunday, March 17, 2024.

The Director General of the Campaign Organization, Mr. Stanley Mbachu, made the position known in a release to Journalists, a copy which was availed this newspaper.

According to the release, the election was marred by so many irregularities including police harassment and disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

Mbachu described the election as a charade and condemned the shenanigans perpetrated on the election day using armed police officers who shot severally to scare voters, all in an effort to impose an unpopular candidate, Mr. Nkemakolam Okoro on the good people of Amawom Autonomous Community.

He lampooned the electoral officers for allocating a whopping 841 votes to their choice candidate, Nkemakolam Okoro and as well, ensuring the emergence of other contestants for other positions in their line up.

“The height of the electoral fraud was the immediate inauguration of the alleged winners and the issuance of certificates of return same day”, Mbachu lamented, while noting that in the past, inauguration of newly elected executives used to be a fanfare with many dignitaries in attendance.

He called for total cancellation of the election and dismissed as fake, any group of persons parading themselves as newly elected executives of Amawom Youth Organization.

Similarly, Umuokoro Youth Association led by Mr Chikodi Onuoha says the outcome of March 17 Amawom Youth election does not reflect the will of Amawom people who deferred their various engagements to exercise their civic right as indigenes.

Onuoha maintained that the people of Amawom were robbed of their chance to make a history on Sunday and lashed out on the electoral committee, who he alleged, had already written results, prepared certificates with names of their choice candidates and waited till Sunday to execute their plot.

“Where on earth has election been conducted and winners issued certificates of return less than 30 minutes after their emergence?” he queried, while calling for it’s cancellation and a new date fixed for a rancour-free election.

When contacted, Nkemakolam Okoro said the election was the freest and fairest ever conducted in Amawom, alleging that the security men on ground only thwarted the plot of his opponents to allow non-indigenes vote during the election.

One of the contestants for the chairmanship position, Phinehas Ekeocha berated the electoral committee for what he described as a poor outing, while alleging that the election was not credible as some of the agents were not allowed to identify valid and invalid votes.

He said the total voting strength was not disclosed until after voting, which lent credence to a well-calculated plot to impose a particular candidate on the people.

The Electoral Committee Chairman, Chris Emeribe said the election was conducted in the presence of security personnel, five observers each from the five villages and supervisors from Government House.

He alleged that the agents of those challenging the election counter-signed the results, adding that the election was conducted peacefully.

He also debunked allegations that certificates were already prepared and results written before the election, alleging that the certificates were printed without names and positions which were handwritten after winners had emerged.

However, one of the agents, Maduabuchi Njemanze said his cell phone was seized and was returned to him after he was forced to sign the result sheets.

The five villages that participated in the election were Umu Okorie, Umu Ekeonunwa, Umu Njemanze, Umu Okoro, Umu Ereprenwa and Umu Oguoma na Neke.

Emeribe had announced that Nkemakolam Okoro polled 841 votes to emerge Chairman of Amawom Youth Organization while his closest rival Obiyo Oparaku scored 431 votes. Others were Nkem Emenyonu, 134 votes and Phinehas Ekeocha, 38 votes.

Other positions contested for were Vice Chairman, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Chairlady, Treasurer and Financial Secretary.

The rest were Director of Socials D.O.S, Public Relations Officer, Provost, D.O.S II, Provost II.

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