Audacity of Hope Uzodinma and Travesty of November 11 

By Chibuikem Diala 

Last Saturday, November 11, 2023, Imo State witnessed the biggest singular electoral heist in our political history. It was a deluge of evil perpetrated against the humans of Imo. Even while a student, I have always seen politics as a genuine means to community service and not this criminality we are forced to accept.

Instead of the election INEC promised Imolites, what we experienced was an audacious travesty akin to a state sponsored electoral holocaust on a people seeking for freedom, equal rights, justice and freedom of choice. Rather than provide the level playing ground for the people to make their choice, they were sold brigandage, massive vote buying, over voting, reckless disregard of electoral act and it’s procedures. Governor Uzodimma, INEC and the security agencies sold “aka enwe” (monkey hand) instead of invoiced fish meal.

This is what happened.

Imo people woke up Saturday November 11 to go to the polls to vote the candidate of their choice. Little did they know that corrupt elements in INEC, security agencies and the APC government have already compromised the elections despite the plethora of promises by INEC that Imo election will be free and fair.

From Orlu to Owerri to Okigwe, despicable stories of mass rigging, ballot box snatching, bypass of BVAS, security breaches, attack on party agents, rent the air sending shivers to the voting public, Nigerians and the international community. The desperation and brazen impunity to compromise the process and rape the people’s will via thuggery, intimidation, vote-buying was visible in every inch of Imo homeland. It seemed that the governor was in a hurry to not just hijack the process and be declared winner, but also to hurriedly legitimze his governorship which he has struggled with as “supreme court governor”.

For nearly four years, after being dubbed “supreme court” governor- a name gallantly given to him by one of his close aides, Governor Uzodinma has struggled with odourless body image problem, a symptom of inferiority complex. This arose from the fact that he became Governor from 4th position after the Supreme Court pronounced him one. So to him, this governorship was a “do or die” affair all in a desperate move to regain his identity as an ‘elected’ governor of Imo State. He agreed so himself.

So, to the APC, it was acceptable to do anything possible to be declared the winner.

In various places ballot papers and electoral materials were hijacked, diverted to unapproved places, thumb-printed and uploaded as election results.

A look at the IREV reveals shocking data: in Nkwere LGA Umudiumuwala Hall 004 the number of accredited voters is 66. Result posted on on IREV is 262. While In Oguta LGA, Umunwenwe Square- Accredited -41. Votes Submitted for APC,- 462. Ndiuloukwu/Umuowere II: Accredited – 62, Submitted – APC- 670; NdiuloukwuUmuowere II

Accredited 57, Submitted – 841 (APC- 811); Umuowere Square (16/17/05/001) Accredited voters 76. While total submitted APC -675, PDP- 241; LP- 18.

In Umulolo Ward, Okigwe LGA (Amaudo Square Ikaeze) Accreditation- 0, Total uploaded – 578 for APC; Ndiakunwata Vill Hall Accreditation – 0, APC- 389; while Umuokpara Town Hall Accreditation 0; APC- 501, LP 24.

In one of such incidents in Orlu, voting materials were allegedly hijacked with the help of policemen and moved to the palace of a prominent traditional ruler in the Amaifeke area.

In Okigwe LGA where the APC scored the highest number of allocated votes, accreditation and election did not hold in most of the polling units. Only a common criminal will justify the reckless allocation of votes in Okigwe LGA where no results sheet was made available and final results allegedly written in Okigwe police station. A rebellious act backed by the Senator  representing the zone in the national assembly. The Senator and the police may need to explain to Okigwe people where the LGA collation held.

In Ehime, Ikeduru, Ideato, Ahiazu Mbaise, Obowo, Owerri North, among other LGAs snatched ballot boxes were pictured in the homes of self appointed king makers and leaders. It is inconceivable that these ballot snatching were mostly led by elected assembly members. Oh, what a shame.

Obowo is another big shame. The rigging innovation by a popular legislator and his accomplices was novel and second to none. In Obowo, the riggers influenced the Polling Officers and manipulated the agents. What they did in most poling centres was to write results on the duplicate copy of the results sheet instead of the master copy. Then, they got the compromised agents to sign. They kept back the master copy to write the number of votes they so choose and uploaded What a dishonourable ingenuity to win an election.

In Amakohia Ikeduru, a policeman was caught while trying to snatch ballot boxes and result sheets on the instruction of APC. He was paraded and beaten to a pulp. Same happened in Emekuku ward 1 collation centre where police officers came in a van, teargased the ward Collation Centre and kidnapped the INEC Ad-hoc Staff alongside the ballot box and result sheets.

In a viral video, Hon Samuel Otuibe, Member representing Ahiazu Mbaise State Constituency in Imo House of Assembly was seen with Police Officers and thugs shooting sporadically before carting away ballot boxes from Mmegbu Adighi Mma polling unit, Ahiazu Mbaise.

Only an unpatriotic citizen plays the ostrich, hiding their face in the sand pretending that the daylight robbery in Imo state never happened.

Recall that before the election, anyone identified as a barrier was brutally shoved aside. Senator Athan Achonu was attacked at Orie Obibiezena, Owerri West where his convoy was blocked by thugs backed by Tiger Base police, as well as the beating up of Barr Callistus Ihejiagwa, the Imo State Labour Party Chairman/State Collation Agent of the party etc in the hands of known thugs and lackeys of this government should not be forgotten in a hurry.

Barr Ihejiagwa, the LP State Collation Agent was humiliated and beaten like a common criminal and thrown out of the State collation centre in the full glare of INEC Returning officer, security agents and the Media. He was thereafter arrested for raising an objection to the criminality that happened in Imo State, especially Orsu LGA where an illegal cluster voting took place. Like those that beat up Joe Ajaero, the real perpetrators and their sponsors still walk freely.

The role of the State INEC Returning Officer Prof Abayomi Fasina in all of this is best described as shameful and ‘un-profesorial’. His actions and body language expose a man out for a hatchet job. Rather than consider the objections of the collation agents, he overtly incited thugs against the LP Agent, Barr Callistus Ihejiagwa and allowed them thugs to brutalize him in the presence of security agents.

His crime was questioning the number of votes from magical Orsu LGA- the deserted Local Government Area, which produced 18, 000 votes. As shown on Cable TV, it was at this point that thugs allegedly loyal to Chief C.O.C Akaolisa, SAN (Artoney General of Imo State)/ the, APC State Collation Agent pounced on Ihejiagwa. The question INEC and security agencies must answer is “Who allowed the thugs into the collation centre? Who were they representing since they are not party agents?

Akaolisa, the Attorney General of the state and a long time ally of the Governor became the State Collation Centre’s Chief Thug. As clearly stated by the LP Chairman, “Akaolisa invited the thugs that beat me up and almost killed me for speaking the truth about the sham cluster election in Orsu.” Recall that Akaolisa is from Orsu where over 18,000 votes were churned out. The question is where did Akaolisa manufacture these voters from? From the shallow graves of Orsu youths?

C.O.C Akaolisa SAN claimed to have hired buses from Owerri to convey 18 000 persons to a venue that won’t take 5,000 people. Let’s do some calculations. It will take a total of 1000 buses (18 seater) to convey 18, 000 Orsu people from Owerri to Orsu. How did Akaolisa move 1,000 buses on an election morning with all the security restrictions?

Another important question is this- on whose directive was the cluster voting done – even after INEC decieved Imolites that election will hold in all polling units except the ones published? Why is it that only APC and mysterious ‘Orsu diasporans’ were made aware of the cluster voting?

This is indeed a confirmation of the Incestous relationship between Governor Uzodimma’s government, INEC and security agencies.

Orsu, a violence ridden LGA is one of the worst hit by the Insecurity that rocked the state since the inception of this administration. Since February 18, 2021, Orsu has known no peace after it was bombed and re-bombed yet Chief C.O.C Akaolisa SAN KSJI backed by government continues to make political gains out of the pains, death and devastation of Orsu people.

Viral vdeo making rounds showed a concerned Imolite recording Akaolisa giving bribe to a security officer. How could the security agencies have supervised this kind of heist, this fraud, this volcano-like kind of electoral fraud In Orlu zone?

We look to the security agencies to tell the world what happened in Imo. Is that the officers are unpatriotic or the IG represented by the DIG does not have control over his men?

It is important to state that the Imo State election was not rigged by the poor masses, it was a high level, well orchestrated scam, deployed and delivered by the very people the society respects and dignifies under the watch of two most important institutions- INEC and Security agencies. Pathetically, the elders watched as children ate vultures instead of chicken.

Unfortunately they think they won the opposition, rather they committed electoral genocide against the people, and the land is waiting to pay back in similar proportion. Like every tyrant induced genocide, the end is usually orchestrated by divine forces.

Ndi Imo, stop and ponder, could the audacity of hope on November 11 be the emergence of Hitler of our time or the morden Attila the Hun (A.D. 434-453) a cruel leader known as “The Scourge of God?” Or could we be faced with the likes of Caligula, a Roman emperor who ruled for only 4 years, from A.D. 37 to 41. In those years, he forced political rivals to commit suicide, making senators run in front of his chariot for miles, throwing spectators into the arena to be killed by animals. I weep for Ndi Imo.

The truth is that this illegality should not be allowed to stand because the totality of it portends an ill wind that bears no good to the state and its citizens. Imagine the rot, brutality, imorality, poverty, mindless hunger and oppression that follow a government that was not elected by the true Imo voters.

One thing is sure, oppression divides communities and denies the people the right to freedom of association and choice. Systems that support oppression like what we are experiencing in Imo state often times witness a revolt from within. Imo is currently witnessing multiple oppressed social groups and the brigandage of Nov 11 may as well be a bad end to active citizenship and familyhood.

Indeed the story of Imo is agonising. It is the audacity of hope turned into travesty of justice and the agony of a generation.

Ndi Imo, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. Jeremiah 31:29b.

It is time to take back your state.

Chibuikem Diala is a citizen of Imo State, pained by the brazen rape of democracy on November 11


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