At a stakeholders meeting organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the November 11 governorship election in Imo State, journalists found themselves at odds with INEC’s National Commissioner for the South East, Kenneth Ukeagu.

Ukeagu, representing INEC’s National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, issued a directive that caught many by surprise – journalists were barred from using cameras and other electronic devices during the interactive session.

However, this decision was met with strong opposition, particularly from members of opposition parties who viewed it as a potential sign of bias in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Jones Onyereri, the deputy governorship candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Tony Nwulu of the Labour Party (LP), were among those who vocally expressed their objections. They alleged that the directive indicated an attempt by the APC to influence the election’s outcome.

Tensions flared as objections mounted, with members of the APC reacting angrily to the accusations. The situation quickly escalated, leading to a rowdy and confrontational atmosphere.

Traditional rulers and Resident Electoral Commissioners who had been assigned to oversee the election in the state chose to exit the venue in response to the deteriorating situation. With political rivals hurling insults and the atmosphere charged with tension, the meeting turned chaotic.

The incident highlights the sensitivity and controversy surrounding the upcoming election in Imo State, with allegations of bias and attempts to manipulate the electoral process causing unrest. The fallout from this dispute is likely to have repercussions as the election approaches, underscoring the need for transparency and fairness in the electoral process.

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