There is tension in Imo State, ahead of the scheduled February 26, Ngor Okpala State Constituency bye election.
Three political parties in the State, the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, are the key contenders in the contest.
They have exhibited their determination to win the bye election by embarking on campaigns to seek the votes of the masses in Ngor Okpala.
The bye election is significant, as analysts have described it, as a litmus test for the political parties ahead of the 2023/24 titanic Imo governorship election.
The forthcoming Saturday polls have generated fierce political fireworks leading to accusations and counter accusations by contending parties involved.
The PDP fired the first salvo. In a statement signed by its acting Publicity Secretary, Mazi Emenike Nmeregini, on Tuesday, the party alleged that the ruling APC intends to abduct its leaders during the elections and disrupt voting in polling units across Ngor Okpala, by stationing ten hoodlums per pooling unit, to perfect their plans of rigging the election.
“The APC in Imo, realizing how unpopular it is and that it cannot win any peacefully conducted election, has now resorted to violence” part of the statement stated.
The party further alleged that the APC candidate unleashed havoc on PDP supporters using hoodlums and milita men to disperse a PDP rally.
Reacting to the development, the Imo State Government faulted PDP’s claims.
Information and Strategy Commissioner, Declan Emelumba, said the PDP is a sinking party that foresees defeat in the bye election.
“The PDP knows that it will lose the bye election, hence it is looking for alibi.
“Governor Hope Uzodimma is a democrat who believes that people will always freely choose who they want in an election unhindered. He will never subscribe to vote buying.
“At any rate, Ngor Okpala people are sufficiently enlightened not to return an irresponsible party that abandoned their seat in the House of Assembly for two years, to the same House” he said.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the state, however called for peaceful elections, but warned that it would not fold its arms and watch its supporters attacked or rigged out of the bye election.
State Chairman of the party, John Iwuala, told INNONEWS in Owerri, warned that APGA would resist any attempt to attack its members or supporters before, during and after the bye election.
“We would resist any attempt to attack our party members in Ngor Okpala. Anyone who unleashes violence on our members would be resisted and we would equally return violence for violence” he said