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27, not 28, polling units from Uzodinma’s senatorial zone will not be voting

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Claim: Voters from 28 polling units from Hope Uzodinma’s zone will not participate in Saturday’s voting process.

Verdict: Our examination uncovered that 27 polling units in Imo West of Mr Uzodinma don’t have registered voters and, therefore, will not be hosting elections. This invalidates the earlier assertion of 28, rendering the claim false.

Full Text

On Nov. 8, 2023, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that elections will not take place in 40 polling units (PUs) during the off-cycle elections that are coming up on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states. As explained by INEC, the reason for this is that there were no registered voters from these PUs. 

After the publication of this list, Chidi Odinkalu, a user on X, has alleged that 28 out of the 40 polling units where INEC stated that elections would not occur belong to the senatorial district of Hope Uzodinma.

“28 of 40 PUs, where there will be no voting during Saturday’s #OffCycle ballots in Bayelsa, Kogi, & Imo States in #Nigeria, are in @Hope_Uzodimma1‘s Orlu Zone. Want to guess why….?” Mr Odinkalu wrote.

“Hope Uzodinma” is the incumbent governor of Imo state. With Chinyere Ekomaru as his running mate, Mr Uzodinma is running for a second term in the approaching election under the All Progressive Congress (APC) umbrella. 

DUBAWA decided to conduct this verification due to the high engagement rate and controversy caused by this post.

Verification

Imo state comprises 27 local government areas, organised into three senatorial districts: Imo East, Imo North, and Imo West. Governor Uzodinma originates from Oru Local Government Area in Imo West, which comprises 12 LGAs, namely Ideato North, Ideato South, Isu, Njaba, Nwangele, Nkwerre, Oguta, Ohaji/Egbema, Orlu, Orsu, Oru East, and Oru West.

Upon thorough scrutiny, DUBAWA identified 27 units out of the 40 released by INEC originated from Imo West, ten from Imo East, and one from Imo North, totalling 38. The additional two units on the list are from Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas in Bayelsa state, completing the tally of 40. This result corresponds with a publication by The Punch newspaper.

Breakdown of the list released by INEC

Imo WestImo EastImo NorthBayelsa WestBayelsa Central
Ideato North (2 PUs)Aboh Mbaise ( 4 PUs)Isiala Mbano (1 PU)Ekeremor (1 PU)Southern Ijaw (1 PU)
Isu (1 PU)Ahiazu Mbaise (1 PU)
Njaba (1 PU)Ezinihitte Mbaise (1 PU)
Ohaji Egbema (5 PUs)
Owerri Municipal (1 PU)
Orlu 5 (PUs)Owerri North (3 PUs)
Orsu (7 PUs)
Oru East (6 PUs)

Conclusion

Our findings refute the claim of Mr Odinkalu. Contrary to his statement, only 27 out of the polling units flagged by INEC are situated in the senatorial district of Governor Uzodinma.

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