I Was Kidnapped By Security Operatives – Abia REC Recounts Ordeal Following Disappearance

I Was Kidnapped By Security Operatives – Abia REC Recounts Ordeal Following Disappearance

Professor Ike Uzochukwu, the Abia State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, has finally recounted the rationale behind his ‘mysterious disappearance’ a day after the 2023 presidential election.

There was confusion at the collation centre in Umuahia as all was set for collation of results by other INEC officials and journalists, but the REC was nowhere to be found.

All attempts to know his whereabouts were unsuccessful as there was no clear explanation given regarding the situation by other INEC officials.

The situation persisted till late in the afternoon when Clement Oha, the Administrative Secretary who claimed that he was newly deployed to the state said he was instructed to take over the job in the absence of the REC.

But speaking in a report published on Tuesday, the REC revealed that he was kidnapped and kept in detention by security operatives for some undisclosed offences.

Professor Uzochukwu pointed out that the security personnel attached to him were withdrawn with his police official detained.

He alleged that Clement usurped his powers as the State’s REC, adding that the national assembly and presidential election results were collated while he was not present.

The REC challenged the credibility of some of the declared results of the election, noting that some of the candidates who emerged might not be the authentic winners of the polls.

Speaking on what actually transpired, he stated that: “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“The DSS and Police details attached to me were also withdrawn from me and the Police details were detained.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

“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.”

Professor Uzochukwu requested a review of the National Assembly elections, expressing doubts on its 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.

He further alleged that the senior INEC staff was sabotaging the order by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC National Chairman, on the payment of Corp members employed by the body for election duties.

” I had the express directive of INEC, communicated directly to me by the National Commissioner overseeing Abia State (Barr Festus Okoye), to pay NYSC corpers deployed for this election duty in cash for all items such as training allowances, feeding allowance etc.

“This directive was sabotaged by some INEC staff(Administrative Secretary, HODs of Finance and Operations).

“Thank you for granting me this opportunity (audi alteram partem), which is essential for justice, fairness, firmness and transparency. Let peace prevail in this process”, he stated in the report