IMO ACN KICKS AGAINST RETURNING OFFICER
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has kicked against the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO, Professor Cyril Onwuliri as the Collating and Returning Officer for the presidential and governorship elections in Imo State.
Professor Onwuliri is the husband of Professor Viola Onwuliri, the incumbent Governor, Ikedi Ohakim's running mate in the April 26 governorship elections in Imo State. Incidentally, Ohakim's running mate also teaches in the same school and her husband is billed to retire in June, just two months after the elections.
The party, which had earlier complained about the appointment of several FUTO lecturers as returning officers, is afraid that if the situation is left unchecked, could lead to violence and chaos in the state, since the VC had vowed to return the incumbent governor and allow for litigations since his retirement is just by the corner.
In the letter of appointment INEC.CHROEVOL.1, signed by Professor Attahiru Jega, the INEC chairman claimed that 'those appointed are very senior high level personnel in the public service, who have proven themselves to be persons of high integrity imbued with a strong sense of public responsibility.'
Jega, therefore, directed the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Rose Oko that 'you are therefore requested to accord these officials the needed assistance and cooperation to enable them discharge their duties efficiently and as expected.
He confirmed that 'for your state , the person appointed is Professor Celestine O.E. Onwuliri, Vice Chancellor Federal University of Technology Owerri , GSM No, 08037225385, email, [email protected] Please contact him and offer him all the necessary support and assistance.'
AC is however worried that there is no way the state REC could be an unbiased umpire, having accepted accommodation by the state government where she is quartered among serving state government commissioners and accused Jega of withholding her accommodation allowance .