The management of Independent NEC in Imo State led by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu paid a courtesy call on the State Governor, Mr. Rochas Okorocha.
The purpose of the meeting was part of the work plan of the INEC Imo State management to build confidence amongst major stakeholders in the Imo electoral environment.
The meeting which was the first of its kind since Prof. Ezeonu resumed duty in July 2017, provided the opportunity for Ezeonu to oblige Rochas of the miles he has covered, since his arrival in July, 2017.
During the meeting which held this January, Ezeonu gave a comprehensive report of his stewardship so far; ranging from the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise – which has been moved to the wards, the improvement in the turnout of prospective voters, INEC new frontiers in recoding of registration areas that have assumed new status, for easier identification.
The REC revealed that INEC has no permanent office at Owerri Municipal LGA, which is the LGA harboring the government house.
In his response, the Imo governor mandated his Chief of Staff and Secretary to the State government to ensure INEC gets (C of O) of all their landed properties in record time.
Okorocha also instructed them to allocate a land for a new INEC office within Owerri Municipal.
In a similar manner, earlier this month, the paramount traditional ruler in Oguta, Eze Chinedu Nanni Nzeribe, the Ezeigwe of Oguta donated land for INEC office in Oguta.
Speaking to Ezeonu, he said, “I have known you for the past twenty years. Your records are impeccable. We have decided to give you land as a way of support. I have confidence in your ability”.
He revealed his disenchantment with previous INEC leadership in the state. But, looking at the caliber of the people in Ezeonu’s team, he passed a vote of confidence on the new INEC team saying; “There has been mutual suspicious between us and INEC, in the past, because the people often sent to Imo come with a preconceived notion. They appear to be on assignment. However, given your academic standing and research reputation, I don’t think you would want to rubbish yourself by being partisan. Prof. Francis Ezeonu, I will give you my full support, but, please remain neutral”.
The Imo governor expressed concern about the apathy in Imo State and promised to work with INEC in future sensitization program to promote greater participation in the CVR.
Ezeonu pledged that he is here to play by the rules, irrespective of whose ox is gored. He made it clear that this current leadership of INEC is only interested in leaving a legacy.
Meanwhile, those who accompanied Ezeonu were; Barr. T.O.N Ongele (Administrative Secretary), Dr. (Mrs) Ann Iheonu (HOD, General Administration, and Procurement), Dr. Fidelis Uguru (HOD Election &Operations), Mrs. Emmanuella Ben – Opara (Public Relations Officer/Ag. HOD Voter Education Programme), Barr. Onyemauche Elekwa (HOD Legal), Barr. Victor Nwokeabia (HOD, Election & Party Monitoring), Mr. Chijioke Chukwuigwe (Ag. HOD Accounts), Mr. Raymond Ofuonye (HOD, ICT &Voter Registration).