Imo West: Collation Officer denies hostage rumour

                      INEC Kogi, Edo, Election observers

There was a mild drama Monday at the Collation Centre for Imo West Senatorial District in Orlu, Orlu Council Area of Imo State, when the Collation Officer, Prof. Ibeawuchi Francis from the Federal University of Owerri (FUTO), hid the original result sheet after declaring the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha as the Senator-elect.

Ibeawuchi who stopped the declaration of the result halfway on Sunday night after announcing the result for nine Local Government Areas, out of which Okorocha won eight LGAs, said that he left the original result sheet at the INEC office in Owerri and instead wrote the result on a rumpled sheet of paper.

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But the party agents insisted that he produced the original result sheet, resulting in several hours of argument until security operatives intervened and pleaded with the party agents to exercise patience and confirm from the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Francis Ezeonu to ascertain the claim of the Collation Officer.

When called on phone by one of the senior Police officers, the REC said that the result sheet was in the possession of the Collation Officer and ordered him to produce it.

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Shortly after the call, the Collation Officer, produced the Original result sheet and entered the figures before announcing the result a second time.

Governor Okorocha polled a total number of 97762 votes to defeat his closest rival, Jones Onyereri of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 63117 votes.

Addressing journalists shortly after announcing the results, the Collation Officer, who looked sober, debunked the news trending on the social media that his daughter was kidnapped to force him to announce the result.

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He said, “I have announced the result, APC had the highest vote so the Governor, His Excellency Rochas Okorocha of the APC has been declared winner”. I was not forced to announce the result and no member of my family was kidnapped, I am not aware of any such report”.

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