by Nicholas Ibekwe
Senator Hope Uzodinma of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been arrested for thumb-printing ballot papers at a private residence during the gubernatorial election rerun in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State.
Arrested alongside Mr. Uzodinma were his uncle and elder sister.
However, while his uncle and sister were detained, Mr. Uzodimma was released on personal recognition.
A top police source involved in providing security in the area told PREMIUM TIMES that soon after his release, Mr. Uzodinma’s supporters in the area set bonfires on the road to prevent the police from taking his relations away.
The police had to call for reinforcement from the army and officials of the secret police, the State Security Service before the bonfires and hoodlums were cleared and his relations carted away to be detained in the state capital, Owerri.
Meanwhile, the rerun election in the local government was almost marred by pockets of violence and irregularities.
At Oru East Local Government Area, which has majority of the Polling Units where rerun election were held, some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were caught thumb-printing ballot papers in favour of one of the political parties.
Also arrested were fake INEC officials who posed as Returning Officers at the collation centre.
The Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, who was among the INEC team deployed for the election, said the INEC officials were arrested at Umumma primary school Ward 10 Polling Unit 008, Polling Unit 003 and three others.
“Myself accompanied by the Assistant Inspector General of Police and Commissioner of Police have arrested poll officials in Oru East involved in mass thumb-printing and are now taken to owerri.
“Upon my suspicion, an imposter, who claimed to be lNEC staff without proof, acting as a presiding officer, l ordered his arrest and it was effected by the Police”.
At Ozuh-Omuma, an agent of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bernars Nwaokoro, was shot by thugs and the ballot box of his unit hijacked.
Also, one Rex Anunobi was kidnapped from his home but was rescued by a team of Policemen led by one of the visiting Assistant Inspector Generals of Police to the state.