The Imo Government and the state chapter of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) have called for caution in the handling of the alleged compromise of the INEC voter register in the state.
They also urged politicians to desist from any act capable of hitting up the polity ahead of the 2023 general elections.
They made the call in separate reactions to the claim by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that the voter register in Imo and 20 other states had been compromised.
The Spokesman for CUPP, Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere, had alleged that inflated figures and fictitious names were uncovered in the voter register for Omuma Ward of Gov. Hope Uzodimma.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Declan Emelumba, dismissed the allegation as “reckless, irresponsible and seditious.
“It could only have come from a jaundiced, mischievous mindset,” he said.
Emelumba said that the establishment of a tertiary institution at Omuma could have accounted for the existence of non-Igbo names in the voter register.
According to him, only those who hack INEC’s server can gain access to the commission’s information that has yet to be brought to public knowledge.
He, therefore, urged relevant security agencies to arrest and investigate CUPP and its spokesman, in order to ascertain their source of information.
“Imo is not on INEC’s official list of states guilty of fictitious registration of voters and INEC has not completed the Automated Biometric Verification of the system.
“The exercise must be concluded before an official voter register can be released to the public.
“It is therefore clear that Ugochinyere has either hacked into INEC server and doctored documents there or forged the document he was brandishing.
“Either way is criminal and it is important that he is immediately arrested for questioning,” the commissioner said.
Also reacting, the state Chairman of IPAC, Mr Levi Ekeh, said it was premature to make such allegation when INEC had yet to publish a cleaned up voter register for public scrutiny.
Ekeh said INEC had no doubt introduced a lot of innovations to allay peoples’ fear regarding the 2023 General Elections.
“We as a body commend their good efforts so far.
“At the same time, we caution them that Imo people, Nigerians and the entire world are watching them as unbiased umpires to deliver free, credible, fair and acceptable elections in 2023.
“In line with the Electoral Act, after the Automated Biometric Identification System and clean up, the commission shall display the voter register for seven days for the public to scrutinise and raise objections and complaints,” Ekeh said.
He said that the allegation by CUPP could only become an issue, if INEC failed to address the objections and complaints raised.
He said that INEC would publish the final register after treating the objections and complaints.
While recognising the rights of citizens to speak out in a democratic process, IPAC called for patience and understanding at this critical moment of the country’s electoral process. (NAN)