My Life Is Now In Grave Danger – Abia State Resident Electoral Commissioner Cries Out
Professor Ike Uzochukwu, the resident electoral commissioner (REC) for the state of Abia, has expressed concern over purported threats made against him.
During the elections, Uzochukwu, who presided over the presidential and national assembly contests in the state, went into hiding.
After the elections on February 26, Uzochukwu was noticeably missing from the INEC offices in Umuahia for the collation of results. His absence persisted for a long time until an Administrative Secretary, Clement Oha, who said he was sent newly to Abia, said he had been requested to take over following the absence of the REC.
Vanguard reports that Uzochukwu on Tuesday, March 7, opened up about his whereabouts. In a statement released, Uzochukwu claimed he was abducted and detained by security agencies for an offense yet to be disclosed to him. He also alleged that his security details were withdrawn and his Police orderly detained. He went on to say that his life “is now in grave danger.”
Professor Uzochukwu who accused the Administrative Secretary of usurping the powers of his office said that the results of the presidential and national assembly elections were collated in his (REC’s) absence.
He further queried the credibility of some of the results declared, saying that some of the candidates returned in the elections might not be the true winners as the collation of results did not tally with the New Electoral Act and INEC guidelines.
On how it happened, Uzochukwu said:-
“The duty post of the REC was the incident room. I was there throughout Saturday, 25th February 2023 and up until around 2 am on Sunday, 26th February 2023. On Sunday, 26th February 2023, before the elections ended, at about 13:00pm, I was abducted and placed under forceful detention and false imprisonment by the Abia State Department of State Services (DSS) and Police.
I was forced out of my hotel room while he was preparing to return back to the INEC State Office (having worked throughout Saturday, 25th February 2023 till about 5am of Sunday, 26th February 2023) by the officials of Abia State Department of State Services and Abia State Police.
I was kept in their respective custody without warrant of arrest, with my Personal Assistant (PA). The DSS and Police details attached to me were also withdrawn from me and the Police details were detained. Having been released on bail by the Abia State Police on Tuesday, 28th February 2023 at about 5pm, I quickly sent an email to the Chairman of the Commission (INEC) expressing surprise at the DSS and Police actions against me.
I am yet to be informed of my offence. I have been deprived of vital information contained in my personal laptop, official files and other personal items, all still being held by the Abia State police.
I had to leave for the hospital on Thursday, 2nd March 2023 for a check-up due to the trauma and unhealthy environment I was subjected to both at the Abia State DSS and Police. My life is in grave danger as I now move without any security detail.”
Uzochukwu called for a review of some of the national assembly elections doubting their credibility.
“Since my abduction and hence absence, election results announced in some zones may not have met the minimum requirements as stipulated by the Electoral Act, 2022. Some declared winner(s) may not be the genuine winner(s) in some of those elections. I hereby request for the review of the results in consonance with section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022, which empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review the result(s) declared by the Returning Officer (RO) within one week after, if the declaration declared by a Returning Officer is contrary to the provisions of the law, regulations and guidelines, and manual for the elections. The collations and returning of winners were done in my absence (Resident Electoral Commissioner) while the Administrative Secretary usurped and assumed my position.