THERE is uncertainty in the political atmosphere of Imo State, as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday declared the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the Imo North bye-election, held on Saturday.
The Election Returning Officer, Hakeem Adikum, while announcing the winner at the INEC office located along Port Harcourt Road, Owerri, did not mention the name of the APC candidate that won the election.
He only declared APC as winner having polled 36,811 votes while the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Emmanuel Okewulonu, got 31,903 votes. APC won five of the six local councils, while PDP won one, Obowo. APC won in Okigwe, Onuimo, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, and Ihitte Uboma.
Asked why the winning candidate was not announced, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Francis Ezeonu, cited several court orders for and against Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and Frank Ibeziem, who are both laying claim to the APC candidature.
Last Thursday, an Appeal Court sitting in Owerri authenticated the candidature of Frank Ibeziem, while another Federal High Court in Abuja, disqualified Ibeziem as the senatorial candidate of APC on the grounds of certificate forgery. Currently, there is tension in the camps of Araraume and Ibeziem, as they fight for the APC ticket.
An APC chieftain, who did not want his name in print, told Vanguard that he had no reason to fault the position of the electoral umpire.
He said: “I have no good reason to fault the position of INEC. We had conflicting court judgements before the senatorial bye-election.”