Former National General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Barrister Ibrahim Eddy Mark has declared that the April 11 Rivers State Governorship Election was free and credible, noting that the people of the state stood their ground despite the antics of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ).
The seasoned legal practitioner further explained that the issue of accreditation as recognised by the Electoral Act rotates round the manual accreditation of voters using the voters registers while INEC simply introduced the card reader electronic system to identify fake permanent voters cards.
Eddy Mark, a member of the Body of Benchers, Nigeria’s Highest Legal Body who voted in Ikwerre Local Government Area, same with former Governor Rotimi Amaechi said that the April 11/12 Rivers State Governorship Election was the best in the recent history of the state.
In a statement at the weekend, Barrister Mark, a member of the Council of Legal Education stated that happenings at the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal have proved that the election was peaceful and credible because the defeated APC has been unable to tender credible evidence to support their allegations.
He said: “The April 11/12 ,2015 gubernatorial election in Rivers State can pass as one of the best elections conducted in recent memory in the State.
The build up and the razzmatazz that accompanied it, is another story to tell. After the Presidential election, wherein APC was adjudged the winner, the APC in Rivers State then woke up from their slumber thinking that with that victory, they had the apparatus of State Security services to use to turn victory their own way, not minding the votes of the electorate . Alas, they were hugely disappointed as the informed electorate voted their choice, the PDP and her candidate. Upon this happening and feeling disappointed, the APC decided to file their petition at the tribunal and largely relying on witnesses on subpoena to prove their claim.”
He explained that the witnesses on subpoena attempted to support the false claim by the Rivers State APC that no election took place in Rivers State, but forgot to support another false claim by the APC that the security agents aided PDP to rig the said election.
Barrister Mark said: “So on opening their case, their witnesses turned out to be Soldiers and mobile Policemen who testified that their attention was drawn through distress calls of shooting and snatching of electoral materials .
Under cross examination they admitted not witnessing any of the incidents but were told by people of what transpired.
They also admitted not seeing anybody carting away election materials.
They also admitted not being present in any polling unit on the day of the election, but on patrol on the major highways.
“The star witness Dakuku Peterside admitted voting on the Election Day in his unit but that after that, hoodlums disrupted proceedings.
He said he was in his Ward throughout the voting period and that all he was told as reflected in his petition were account of agents and party members.”
He stated that INEC staff who have testified so far have tendered documentary evidence to prove that the governorship election was credible, free and fair. He added that they have also made credible statements.
He said: “So far, INEC has called 8 witnesses. An Electoral Officer and seven Presiding Officers. They all testified to the free and fair conduct of the elections and denied seeing any army personnel or mobile policemen in their units on Election Day, save the conventional policemen that secured their conduct of the election without any untoward happenings.
The question that begs for answer will be, how can the testimony of people far away from the theatre of election compare with those in the election zone and active participants with statutory mandate to conduct the election.
INEC will call more witnesses before closing their case, but it is evident that their witnesses so far have proved that the conduct of the election was free and fair and the winner duly returned.”
The former National Secretary General of the NBA berated the Rivers State APC for trivialising the military and attempting to drag the image of the security agencies to disrepute by making them false witnesses on subpoena.
He said: “There is nothing farther from the truth so far as APC is crying over spilt milk. They unwittingly dragged the armed forces into disrepute as their lying testimony did no good to the army and police. For the first time in election dispute, the army and police are dragged into the murky waters of partisan politics in a most inglorious manner.”


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