By Victor Nwachukwu
Owerri, Dec. 3, 2020 The Coalition of Okigwe Youths for Advancement of Democracy, a political pressure group in Imo, has vowed to protect ballots and resist any plan to rig the Dec. 5 Imo North senatorial by-election.
Chairman of the group, Mr Chiedozie Ibekwe said this at a press conference held by the group in Owerri on Thursday.
Ibekwe described the group as a non partisan and politically neutral body with a mission to advance democracy in the senatorial district and Imo at large.
He also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its hollistc efforts towards achieving credible polls in the forthcoming bye election.
Ibekwe expressed dismay at what he described as “developmental backwardness ” in the senatorial district and promised not to pay a blind eye to any electoral malpractice that played out in the electioneering process.
According to him, the group has its membership scattered across the communities in Imo North and as such, it will keep an eye on all polling units with a view to protecting the choice of the electorate.
“We have membership scattered across the communities in the senatorial district and we have resolved never to allow rigging, godfatherism, financial inducement of INEC officials and security agencies or any form of electoral fraud.
“The youths have stayed on the fence for a long while but, now we have decided to take our destinies in our own hands.
“Any person or group of persons who attempt to subvert the people’s will have the youths to contend with”, he said.
He however, called on the INEC, police and other security agencies to avoid being used by politicians to rig the election adding that a free and fair electoral process would be for the overall good of the masses.
The senatorial seat became vacant following the death of the erstwhile occupant, Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu, who died in Abuja a year ago.