After the ecstasy of the Rivers APC’S fertile fictional imagination, comes the reality of Prof Attahiru Jega’s declaration on the April 11, 2015 Rivers State governorship election. On April 11, 2015, the Rivers State governorship election was held peacefully and in compliance with the INEC guidelines and the Electoral Act.
Professor Jega held that the election was credible, pointing out that a valid return was made. The former INEC chairman went as far as the United States of America to defend the same position.
Addressing Civil Society Organisations in Abuja on the election, Prof Attahiru Jega declared, “we have no power to cancel elections results once returns have been made. On the petition against election irregularities in Rivers State, the Commission sent three national commissioners to the state to investigate it. Some people don’t want elections to hold, they are the ones calling for cancellation.
“We investigated the allegation of fake result sheets in Rivers, our reports showed that there was nothing like that.”.
The defence of Governor Nyesom Wike at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has thrown up all the issues raised by the former INEC chairman at his parley with the civil society groups in Abuja.
Governor Wike through the tribunal subpoenaed one of the National Commissioners of INEC detailed to monitor the election to come forward and publicly testify on the said election. The former National Commissioner, Dr Christopher Iyimoga declared that the Rivers election was peaceful, credible, free and fair. He was opportune to monitor the election in six local government areas where he witnessed accreditation, voting and other processes of the election.
According to him, the team visited super Registration Area Centres (RACs ), which covered several wards, where they witnessed peaceful distribution of election materials. He noted that the team witnessed the process of accreditation and voting at different times on the election day in different locations.
Commenting on Charles Okoye invited by the Rivers State APC as Petitioner Witness (PW) 40, the INEC National Commissioner said the witness was a travel guide to the team and therefore had no locus to write a formal report.
Like Professor Jega noted in his interaction with the civil society, Rivers State APC failed to lead evidence at the tribunal in the area of their several allegations of fraud during the April 11 governorship election. They failed to call witnesses to prove that the election did not hold as they alleged in their petition.
Even when they attempted to call witnesses, they brought third parties. It is obvious that they have failed to prove their allegations .
Yet another tribunal has delivered her judgment in Benue State. This time, it’s in the petition filed by Comrade Daniel Onjeh against former Senate President David Mark.
Upholding the election of former Senate President, Justice Dipeolu declared that the evidence of petitioner’s witnesses were contradictory as they were based on hearsay which is not admissible in law.
She said, “witnesses contradicted their statement in admitting that the election held free and fair in their polling units. Their evidence is based on hearsay..
“Ballot boxes and papers should have been brought to court to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. Issue of falsification should have been made by the polling agents even as the petitioner did not produce or invite anyone who alleged harassment or intimidation.
“Their evidence is based on the hearsay including that of the data analyst who admitted that his report was erroneous. Based on all these, I hold that the petitioner failed to prove that the election was not held in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and the petition fails and is accordingly dismissed”.
The facts that the Rivers election was peaceful and credible are no longer in doubt. Those who challenged the election have tendered nothing to prove their case. They seem to believe that they would achieve their aim by shouting themselves hoarse.
These were the same persons who never wanted election to hold, but were disappointed when security agencies ensured that the election held peacefully. They were the same persons who released suspected criminals from detention centres in the vain hope that they would assist them to cause mayhem.
The Rivers State governorship election has been won and lost in line with the desires of the people of the state. Those making noise have already received the reward for their treachery and theft of Rivers resources. It is only wise that they should rest their case and wait for 2019 to try their luck again.
Nwakaudu, Special Assistant (Media ) to the Rivers State Governor wrote in from Port Harcourt