Home Press Releases InterSociety Calls For Nullification Of The Imo 2023 Governorship Poll

InterSociety Calls For Nullification Of The Imo 2023 Governorship Poll

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Imo State map

Time-Bomb Ticking Over The Coming Judgments Of Imo 2023 Governorship Election And Anambra 2025 Governorship Election

 

• Calling For Nullification Of The Imo 2023 Shambolic Governorship Poll

• Time For Electoral Court And Voting Process Reforms In Nigeria Including:

(a) Side-By-Side Use Of Electronic And Manual Voting

(b) Detachment Of Electoral Courts From Regular Courts

(c) Total Elimination Of “Judicial Technicalities”

• Imo As Gateway Of Criminalities Into Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Rivers

• Anambra 2025 Political Violence To Be Generated From Imo Killer Forces

 

(Being Text Of A Press Conference Held In Enugu On Sunday, May 19, 2024 By InterSociety, Nigeria: International Society For Civil Liberties And Rule Of Law)

 

Calling For Nullification Of The Imo 2023 Shambolic Governorship Poll

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety); Nigeria’s leading research and investigative Human Rights, Rule of Law, Democracy, Citizens’ Security and Safety Advocacy Organization since 2008; is strongly calling for judicial nullification of the Nov 11, 2023 ‘off-cycle’ Imo Governorship Election. It is not only that the shambolic poll should judicially be nullified but also an all-inclusive fresh Poll must be conducted under an atmosphere of popular participation including access to PVCs and secured voting environment and voting materials.

 

The above is urgently and popularly needed to be done in Imo State to restore the voting and the general citizens’ confidence in the Judiciary and the country’s Electoral Process and have them back on track. The Arm of the Nigerian Government being called upon to rise to the occasion and do the needful in the instant case is the Nigerian Judiciary per the 2023 Imo Governorship Election Petitions’ Tribunal (electoral court of first instance), the 2023 Imo State Governorship Appellate Tribunal (electoral court of second instance) and the 2023 Imo State Governorship Apex Tribunal (electoral court of last instance). The three Electoral Courts being called upon are created and recognized by the 1999 Constitution and the 2022 Electoral Act as amended. While the Electoral Court of First Instance is set to deliver its judgment having adjourned for judgment since April 30, 2024 in line with constitutionally stipulated 180 days; the Electoral Courts of Second and Third (Last) instance are expected to review and deliver theirs in coming 120 days or four months (two months respectively) as lawfully required.

 

A Rare Opportunity Beckons On Retiring CJN Olukayode Ariwoola

The above is a test case for the Nigerian Judiciary under the leadership of Retiring Chief Justice of Nigeria, JSC Olukayode Ariwoola and a rare opportunity to courageously return the Judiciary to the ‘saintly status quo’ of the yesterday years and save it from further bleeding. A rare opportunity has, therefore, beckoned on Retiring CJN Ariwoola to retire on August 22, 2024 at the mandatory retirement age of 70 years with honor by “politically” reversing the Jan 14, 2020 Imo State Governorship Supreme Court Hara-kiri. This clarion call on the country’s Judiciary, if popularly heeded, can upturn the comatose state of affair which the State has been plunged into since Jan 2021 including rescuing the State from uncontrollably continuing as a Safe Haven for state actor and non-state actor generated violent crimes and allied atrocities and their unchecked and uncaught perpetrators including ‘repeat-offenders’ or ‘repeat-perpetrators’.

Imo As Gateway Of Criminalities Into Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi And Rivers

Imo State has since Jan 2021 become a Safe Haven for state actor and non-state actor unlawful killings, ritualism, maiming, abductions-for-religious radicalism and abductions-for-ransom; enforced disappearances, custodial and captivity torture and exterminations; gender violence including rape and forceful conversions on the ground of radical religion; house burnings, political thievery and violence; election rigging, abuse of power and political corruption; depopulation of male citizens in marital age brackets, displacements, forced migration, political falsehood and propaganda; class criminalization and false labeling; victimless criminalities including drug abuses and addictions; and general under-development, joblessness and mass poverty, etc. The State as a result has become a gateway of criminalities into Anambra, Abia, Enugu, and Rivers States. It must also not be forgotten that the January 14, 2020 Nigeria’s Supreme Court verdict that installed Hope Uzodinma as ‘Imo Governor’ remotely originated from ‘harvested results’ from 311 polling units in the State where voting either did not take place or was canceled as a result of widespread violence and gross malpractices in the State’s April 2019 Governorship Election.

 

Time For Electoral Court And Voting Process Reforms In Nigeria

We at the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law are calling for comprehensive reformation of the Nigeria’s electoral court and voting process including: (a) provision for independent candidacy from presidency and governorship to State and Federal legislative seats, (b)side-by-side codified use of Electronic and Manual Voting, (c) detachment of Electoral Courts, their processes and procedures including Rules as well as their handlers (. i.e. Electoral Court Judicial Officers) from those of Regular Courts. The ‘Electoral Court processes and procedures and their handlers under demand should be modeled after the “Constitutional Court System” obtained in several developed and developing democratic countries; and (d) total elimination of “judicial technicalities” from post-election dispensation of ‘justice’ in Nigeria or any part thereof. “Judicial Technicalities” have been found to be responsible for over 80% of brutal judicial subversion of the sacred electoral wishes of the conscientious Nigerian voting population. The standard practices in developed and developing Democratic Countries’ electoral courts are to fundamentally determine the field winners of the valid majority votes cast from among the total lawful cast votes emanating from polling centers or units through their manual or electronic voting systems. Time has also come for general and codified use of electronic and manual voting to be used side-by-side. Voting citizens must be allowed their sacred choice of using electronic voting or manual voting in Nigeria or any part thereof.

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Adjournment Sine Die (For Judgment) By 2023 Imo Governorship Tribunal

We have reliably gathered, having been following the proceedings of the 2023 Imo State Governorship Election Petitions’ Tribunal sitting in Abuja since Jan 2024 that the Electoral Court of First Instance had on April 30, 2024 ‘adjourned for judgment’ (adjournment sine die) to rule on about Seven Applications (cases) before it relating to the controversially conducted Nov 11, 2023 Imo Governorship Election. Sitting in Abuja (FCT), the Three-Member Panel is led by Justice O. Akintan Osadebay. The Tribunal’s ‘adjournment sine die’ followed the adoption of briefs by Lead-Counsels to the Petitioners (PDP, LP, etc.) and Respondents (INEC, APC, etc.), during which the Petitioners through their Lead-Counsels including Johnson Usman, SAN, cried out over “refusal of INEC to comply with the Order of the Court (Tribunal) issued since Jan 26, 2024 to make available to the Petitioners relevant materials used by INEC in the said poll.

 

The materials sought had included the CTCs of the Voters’ Register from the State’s 27 Local Government Areas; out of which INEC provided those of only seven Local Government Areas. The Lead-Counsel to the Lead-Petitioners (PDP) also cried out that their client was forced by INEC into spending N5m as “processing fees” and another N4m for “business center photocopying”; and extra N50,000 for “CTCs”; yet in the end, the Commission had nothing to show for it. The two major petitioners in the matter: PDP and LP and their 2023 Imo State Governorship Candidates had asked the Tribunal to disqualify the APC Governorship Candidate (Hope Uzodinma) as having not qualified ab initio to contest in the Election by having allegedly failed in law to authenticate his WAEC Certificate said to have been obtained about 42 years ago. The two major petitioners therefore prayed the Electoral Tribunal to declare the next Candidate who scored the second largest lawful votes cast as the winner; or in the alternative, nullify the entire election for non-substantial compliance with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act as amended and order for fresh one.

 

State Democratic Institutions As Rigging Tools In The 2023 Imo Governorship Poll

The facts and findings arising from our several investigations obtained before, during and after the widely condemned and rejected 2023 Imo Governorship Poll have shown how supposedly state actor or Government democratic institutions turned themselves into rigging tools in the election: thereby making the Poll “worse of the worst” in Nigeria’s Electoral Process and recent election history. Despite deployment of nine INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners and scores of INEC’s National Commissioners and several top security chiefs including serving Police DIGs, AIGs and CPs and Military and Spy Police Commanders accompanied by conscripted battalions from police crack squads, SSS, Army, Navy, Air Force and Paramilitaries and Government-controlled militias; the state actor democratic institutions ended up becoming and serving as rigging tools in the shambolic poll and in the end supervised brutal subversion of the sacred electoral wishes of the conscientious Imo voting population. Intersociety had at different dates in September 2023 written letters and successfully submitted them to Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu; Inspector Gen of Police, Kayode Agbetokun; Chairman, Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase; Director General of SSS, Yusuf Bichi; Chief of Army Staff, Gen Taoheed Lagbaja, National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; Chief of Defense Staff, Gen Christopher Musa; and Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo; calling on them to ensure popular, participatory, all-inclusive and credible Governorship Poll in Imo State.

 

As a matter of fact, Intersociety had in a letter to INEC Chairman (Prof Mahmood Yakubu) dated Monday, Sept 25, 2023, called for immediate transfer of Imo REC, Prof Sylvia Agu and eight heads of Imo’s INEC key departments; namely: Emmanuella Okpara (HOD-Voter Education), Mr. Raymond (HOD-ICT), Chinonye Osuji (Public Relations Officer), Dr. Fidelis Uguru (Acting Administrative Secretary), Agnes Elokpo (ICT Department), Okorie Esther (Acting HOD-Operations), Barrister Sunday Nwaigboko (HOD Legal) and Mrs. Gloria Ogbuechi (INEC EO for Nkanu East in the 2023 Governorship Election in Enugu State, now posted to Imo State); and eleven Local Government Electoral Officers (EOs); namely: Emeka Okike Ukpa (Owerri West), Omeje Peter Ikebuchukwu (Nwerre), Nwabisi Theresa (Mbaitoli), Nnebue Adolph (Ezinihitte-Mbaise), Nnonyelum Benjamin (Ngokpala), Okorie Franklyn (Isiala-Mbano), Uzor Chikwendu (Okigwe), Nwachukwu Anyalewechi (Onuimo), Chukwuemeka Blessing (Orlu), Okafor Obiorah (Orsu), Uzoka Emmanuel (Oru East). Their redeployment call had arisen from our investigations and indicting records which found them wanting and publicly distrusted ahead of the Imo Poll.

We had in the letter also informed the Commission that “time has come for the Commission to comprehensively address its in-house challenges threatening the impartiality and credibility of the Nov 11, 2023, Imo Governorship Election”. For full details, the link to our letter to INEC Chairman is here: https://intersociety-ng.org/time-is-now-for-the-independent-national-electoral-commission-under-prof-yakubu-to-comprehensively-address-its-in-house-challenges-threatening-impartiality-and-credibility-of-the-nov-11-2023-governor/

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In our letter to Chairman of the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police dated Monday, Sept 25, 2023, we demanded for immediate transfer of key senior Police Officers in Imo State and its Zonal Command (Zone 9) including the Imo CP and AIG, Zone 9; as well as disarming and demobilizing the Imo State Government-owned Ebubeagu militias and armed allied others “. In our letter to Chief of Army Staff, dated and delivered on Monday, Sept 25, 2023, we demanded for transfer of the Commandant/Principal Officers and Field Operational Commanding Officers of the 34 Brigade in Obinze, near, Owerri, Imo State and keep the Imo State Government-funded Ebubeagu militias and armed others off from Polling Units and Result Collation Centers on Election Day. Similar demand was made in our letter to the Director General of DSS, dated and delivered on Sept 25, 2023 in which we demanded for transfer of the Imo State DSS Director and other Principal Officers including the State’s 27 LGAs’ Operational Officers-in-Charge and offer credible intelligence and assist in lawful law enforcement operations capable of popularizing and securing the State’s crucial Governorship Election of Nov 11, 2023. Intersociety also wrote to the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defense Staff, and the Minister of Interior, drawing their public attention to the pendency of our letters to the named heads of the supposedly Public Democracy protective institutions and urging them to ensure full and timely compliance.

 

We understand that the NSA later gave a public assurance regarding our letters and clarion calls; yet in the end, his public assurance became that of the graveyard. Apart from writing the letters above highlighted, we also on June 12, 2023, wrote to 29 leading foreign missions including those of EU, US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, etc.; urging them to urgently intervene and save Imo State from blink. The letters followed our 33-Page Special Report on: “Imo Mass Killings and Property Burnings”, released on May 21, 2023. It is therefore our deepest fear that with the way and manner the Imo State Governorship Election was conducted, if allowed to continue in future elections in Nigeria or any part thereof; credible and popular participation by the citizens including their Fundamental Human Rights to vote or be voted for, and sanctity of the Ballot Box will be gone forever in Nigeria or any part thereof including Imo State. What happened in Imo State on Nov 11, 2023 was nothing more than an armada of electoral fraud and brutal suppression of the sacred electoral wishes of the People of the State which is tantamount to a military takeover; which is why the Judiciary is strongly being called upon to rise to the occasion and do the needful.

 

A Recap Of What Transpired In The Nov 11, 2023 Imo Governorship Election

As correctly predicted in our joint Press Conference of October 29, 2023 and Press Statement of Nov 9, 2023; not less than 70% or “490, 000 votes” announced by INEC as “total lawful votes cast” from the Nov 11, 2023 Imo Governorship Election were independently found to be composed of “harvested and written results”. It was also found that most of the “540,000 votes” allocated to the INEC-declared winner of the shambolic poll were harvested and written.

Out of the remaining 210, 000 validly cast votes in all, at least 40% were independently found to be garnered through voter intimidation and corruption including vote-buying. The allocated “540,000 votes” to the INEC-declared winner also magically surpassed the total lawful votes cast arising from the 2023 Presidential Poll in the State (459,261) garnered by the trio of Peter Obi of Labor Party (352, 904), Ahmed Bola Tinubu of APC (66, 171) and Atiku Abubakar of PDP (30, 004). Of the three Governorship Polls held in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa States on Nov 11, 2023; Imo State, with 27 LGAs and most difficult terrains (according to INEC’s official statements before the shambolic poll) magically became the fastest to be delivered in less than 24 hours as against Bayelsa’s three days with only 8 LGAs.

 

In the Imo Governorship Poll, there were also no reports of election or result cancellation despite the State being the most security and safety challenged of the three election-held States at that time. Imo’s 27 LGAs were further found to have become the “fastest, freest and safest” to vote, collate and announce “results”. The State also became the South-East State with “largest turnout of voters” or “33% of the registered voting population of 2,2m” since Nigeria’s 1979 General Elections or in the past 45 years. For more information on our findings arising from the Nov 11, 2023 Imo Governorship shambolic Poll, see the joint statement of ours, dated Nov 15, 2023 here: https://intersociety-ng.org/the-august-22-2024-and-october-21-2025-of-exit-dates-of-two-enemy-symbols-of-nigerias-most-important-public-democratic-institutions-as-a-golden-opportunity-for-nigerian-democratic-forces-to/

 

Anambra 2025 Political Violence To Be Generated From Imo Violent (Killer) Forces

Our recent investigative findings have revealed that “Anambra 2025” or Anambra’s off-circle Governorship Election of Nov 2025 is most likely to witness unprecedented political violence including aimless and targeted shootings and killings; and property destruction and other forms of violence against persons and properties-for purposes of creating a general atmosphere of insecurity and other unsafe conditions-aimed at scaring away many of the conscientious voting population to give room for “guided voting” or massive result fixing and harvesting arising from “dead votes”.

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Further findings showed that poll rigging enablers and their allied violent forces seeking to unseat the incumbent Governor Charles Soludo will launch their ferocious attacks into Anambra State from their Safe Haven in Imo State where they currently operate and terrorize unchecked, untracked, and uncaught. The enablers of the poll rigging and their allied violent forces operating from their Imo Safe Haven are remotely linked to state actor and non-state actor camps in the State-with those in the hands of the state actors being in majority. Some, if not many, are remotely or openly linked to the Imo State Ministry of Homeland Security and Vigilante Matters headed by “Commissioner Ugorji” under the operational code of “Ebubeagu Security Outfit”.

 

It is our investigative projection that unless extremely urgent steps are taken, if not, Anambra will be enveloped by an unprecedented sponsored and counter-sponsored political violence including political assassinations and attempted assassinations, disappearances and abductions including abduction-for-ransom; as well as property burnings such as targeted and general burning of automobiles and houses belonging to political parties and political actors. Open killing and shooting of defenseless citizens is also likely; to create general atmosphere of panics and fears.

Apart from Imo Safe Haven violent forces expected to unleash political violent attacks on Anambra State or any part thereof, the Government of Anambra State under Prof Charles Soludo is strongly suspected to be amassing “counter-attack arsenal” from the State’s dreaded “Anti Tout Killer” and “Anambra Vigilante Killer Squads”; controlled by the State Ministry of Homeland Security under “Commissioner Anara” and possibly allied others under “Anambra Governor’s CSO”.

Why The Incumbent Anambra Gov/Government May Settle For “Guided Voting”

Resort to “Guided Voting” in place of “Widespread Credible Voting” has remained the stock-in-trade of the APGA-led Government of Anambra State since 2017 during which the transactional “no election in Anambra” was introduced; paving way for “Guided Voting” in the end. The above is accompanied with the fact that Anambra State has a recent repetitive history of parading the highest number of registered voters with Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) in the South-East, yet during its Governorship Elections (2017 and 2021), the number of voters that turned out and the final total votes cast represented an insignificant 10%-12% of the total registered voters with PVCs; the lowest in the South-East. Anambra recorded lowest voters’ turnout in the Feb 2010 off-circle Governorship Poll during which the total lawful votes cast of 201,000-plus was recorded, out of the total registered voting population of 1.8m; out of which the winner polled 93, 000-plus to be declared “Governor-Elect”. In the Nov 6, 2021 Anambra Governorship Election, the total lawful votes cast was 249,631, out of which the winner scored 112, 229 to be declared “Governor-Elect; out of total registered voters of 2, 466, 638 out of which only 10.12 percent participated.

 

Summed Up Background Of Imo Mass Butcheries And Genocidal Property Burnings

Intersociety had in its‘ 33-Page Special Research and Investigative Report released on May 21, 2023 found that In 29 Months (Jan 2021-May 2023) Under Gov Hope Uzodinma In Nigeria’s Imo State: Security Forces And Allied Militias Killed 900 Unarmed Citizens, Wounded 700, Arbitrarily Arrested And Detained 3500, Extorted 1,400, Disappeared 300, Burned Down 1,200 Civilian Houses, Displaced Their 30,000 Owners And Forced 500,000 Citizens In Active Age-Brackets To Flee To Escape Being Shot And Killed Or Abducted And Disappeared In Security Custody. As Armed Non-State Actors: Fulani Jihadists, Counterfeit Agitators, Death Squads, Street Violent Criminal Entities, Etc, Killed 700 (400 In Captivity And 300 In Open Shootings) And Abducted 900.

Our recent review of the security and safety situations in the State in the past one year or between May 21, 2023 and May 19, 2024 showed that the Nigerian Security Forces (NSFs) and their Allied Militias have additionally killed not less than 500 unarmed and untried citizens, wounded hundreds, arbitrarily arrested and detained not less than 1000 and extorted not less than 800; disappeared at least 200, burned down over 600 civilian houses and displaced their dwellers in their thousands and forced additional 200,000 citizens mostly in active and marital age-brackets to flee to escape being shot and killed or abducted and disappeared or tortured and killed in security custodies. On the other hand, the armed non-state actors including Fulani Jihadists, Counterfeit Agitators and Government-linked and non-Government-linked Death Squads and politico-economic rooted Street Violent Criminal Entities, etc, have within the same period additionally killed at least 400 defenceless citizens-with estimated captivity death of not less than 300 and abducted over 500 others.

For full details of the Special Report, the link is here: https://intersociety-ng.org/armed-state-actors-and-armed-non-state-actors-killed-1600-unarmed-citizens-in-29-months-in-imo-state/

Addressed By:

• Emeka Umeagbalasi, Criminologist-Researcher

Board Chair @ Intersociety

 

• Anayo Okoli, Top Media Executive

Board Member @ Intersociety

 

• Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire, Int’l Rights Lawyer/Defender

Head of Publicity @ Intersociety

 

• Prof Jerry Chukwuokolo, Renowned University Don/Rights Defender

 

• Engineer Ikenwoke Nwandu, Respected Computer Security Expert/Rights Defender

 

• Introducing:

 

Florence Iloanya Esquire

Lawyer/Intern @ Intersociety

For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Nigeria)

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