- Reps demand release of results
Mixed reactions have continued to trail the results of last Saturday State and Federal legislature rerun elections in Rivers State, with the All Progressives Congress, APC, calling for outright cancellation of the polls, while the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP insists the results should be upheld as declared.
Similarly, the Inspector General of the Police, Mr Solomon Arase, has debunked complicity by Nigerian Police in the exercise. The IGP rather laid the blame for the irregularities on the doorsteps of the political class for the spate of killings, violence and electoral malpractices witnessed in the elections.
Out of the results so far declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, PDP won 9 State Assembly, and one Federal House of Representatives seats while the APC won only one seat.
Addressing journalists at the commission’s office, yesterday, the Resident Electoral Officer, REC, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak disclosed the commission has suspended action on the election to enable it assess the situation and staff.
“We want to use the opportunity to access the situation, particularly the safety of our staff and materials. We should go beyond the elections and consider the lives of our staff, some of whom were affected negatively,” the REC stated.
Ikoiwak also confirmed the death of one youth corps member, disappearance and recovery of an Executive Officer; and another youth corps member, condemning the attitude of Rivers politicians who believed their victory at the pool depended on the number of guns and bullets at their disposal.
He appealed to the state government and the electorate to embrace for patience, and debunked PDP’s allegation that it used fake voting and other sensitive materials in the elections.
“Nobody has so far come to challenge us on the use of fake materials. We did not, and do not use fake materials; anybody who cares can come and challenge us with evidence,” the REC said.
It will be recalled that the Rivers rerun assembly elections of March 19 were marred with irregularities, killings, violence and intimidation.
APC calls for Wike’s arrest over alleged attempt on Dakuku, others
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Rivers State chapter has expressed outrage over alleged assassination attempt on its chieftains, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the party state Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, and the deputy governorship candidate of the party in the April 2015 elections, Hon. Asita O. Asita.
The party alleged that the trio narrowly escaped death on Sunday afternoon after Peterside’s vehicle in which they were travelling from the Port Harcourt International Airport was reportedly attacked by gunmen in two utility vehicles, which the report claimed belonged to Emeka Woke, Chief of Staff to Governor Nyesom Wike. The report also claimed that the trio survived by making a quick detour to the nearby DSS office where they sought refuge.
“This brazen attempt to snuff out the lives of three key leaders of Rivers APC is outrageous, an affront and condemnable,” the party said.
The party alleged that Governor Nyesom Wike could not be exonerated from the assassination attempt, calling on relevant security agencies to wade into the matter with a view to carrying out thorough investigation and those responsible made face the full weight of the law.
‘’Before last weekend’s State and National Assembly rerun elections in the state, we had openly cried out, following Wike’s open threats on the lives of President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, and Minister of Transportation, Rt.
Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Those who thought we were shouting wolf where one does not exist now know better,” the party added.
It described the rerun election last weekend as a sham, as it alleged that the PDP hoodlums had a free day intimidating voters to vote only PDP candidates.
As a way forward in the state and other parts of the region, the state APC called on President Buhari Federal Government to completely dismantle the present police force and assemble a modern police force that will guarantee and protect the citizens as well as ensuring that all the militias in Niger Delta are dismantled and demobilised.
APC observed that the Delta region had been chocked up with armed gangs which had resulted in the loss of economic activities in the region thereby depriving the region of needed investment and employment.
PDP rejects APC’s call for cancellation
In a counter, Rivers State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP rejected the call for the cancellation of the entire rerun elections by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya.
Rivers PDP Chairman, Brother Felix Obuah, who opposed the call, said the Electoral Act clearly spells out conditions for cancellation of results, saying all the results in the rerun election won by candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party substantially complied with all the provisions of both the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“Having strictly complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act and results declared as stipulated by law, it cannot therefore be cancelled by INEC.
So, the APC leadership or anybody calling for such cancellation is ignorant of the law and such call amounts to an invitation to anarchy in the State, the State PDP boss noted.”
Accordingly, he added, the APC Chairman, Mr. Ikanya was ignorant of the law, desperate and is a do or die politician who is plotting to destabilise the State.
The State PDP chairman recalled that a week to the election, Amaechi threatened to flood the state with the military and he did, thereby arrogating to himself the power of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“Amaechi, who promised that the election will be the freest and most peaceful, also effected the transfer of the former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, and all staff, and openly declared same, boasting that he has the Army, Police, Airforce, DSS, etc in his pockets.
“It is on record that Amaechi, Dakuku Peterside, Magnus Abe, Barry Mpigi, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, Ibim Semenitari, Felix Nwaeke moved around on election day with soldiers and used them to harass and intimidate the voters and PDP members, while at most places APC members were pointing and identifying PDP members to the Nigerian soldiers to beat, arrest and harass.
“The question that begs for answer is, why will the Nigerian Army be loyal to Amaechi, Abe, Ikanya, Dakuku, Felix Nwaeke, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, Barry Mpigi and all APC chieftains and members?
“We would expect therefore that Ikanya should be truthful by explaining the content of the vehicle in which he, Dakuku and Asita were travelling at the period when they were not expected to be moving about during the restriction of movement, even as they are not from same electoral ward or senatorial district. Ikanya should explain to the public the purpose of their journey and their destination,” he said.
He accused Ikanya of deliberately twisting and misrepresenting facts in the circumstances leading to the cancellation of elections in the affected LGAs, particularly Gokana, Khana, Tai, Andoni and Eleme, “when it was evident that the APC, in connivance with Nigerian soldiers and INEC officials, brought in fake result sheets and ballot papers to those areas.
“Mr. Ikanya should also tell the truth on who abducted the Ward 10 INEC Collation Officer, Mrs. Ekwi Adebisa, as evidence abound that Rotimi Amaechi and other APC chieftains abducted the woman and forced her to falsify election results for the area.”
INEC must release all results now – PDP Reps
Similarly, members of the PDP in the House of Representatives yesterday called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to release all the National and State Assembly rerun election results held last weekend.
It would be recalled that the INEC said it has suspended further action on Rivers state rerun elections into the National and State Assembly polls.
The commission said it decided to take the action because several permanent and ad hoc officials had been attacked.
The electoral body hinted that some were abducted and taken to unknown destinations, adding that the tensed atmosphere had only enabled it to collate and declare results in only one Federal and nine State Constituencies.
Briefing House Press Corps over the matter, the leader of the caucus and House Minority Leader, Hon Leo Ogor said the decision to suspend action on the election was strange to the Electoral Act and constitution of the country, insisting that any attempt to change the results of the elections would be resisted.
Ogor explained that in Section 27 of the Electoral Act, if elections are conducted and results announced at the unit level, anything contrary to the announcement of the results is a breach of the electoral laws.
The PDP caucus leader observed that the conduct of the electoral umpire showed that INEC was not only incompetent, but a regression from the gains of the reformed electoral system championed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
He pointed out that the inconclusive Kogi gubernatorial election, leading to the inauguration of a governor without a deputy as well as the bloodletting in Bayelsa, whose governorship election took place several times were clear indications of the present administration’s capacity to destroy democracy in the country.
Ogor also condemned the role of the Army in the Rivers rerun election, saying that the military had no role to play in the rerun polls.
The caucus members observed one minute silence in honour of those that lost their loved ones in the violence.
Blame politicians for Rivers’ bloody rerun-IGP
Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase, yesterday absolved the Nigerian Police of blames in the violence and killings that greeted the rerun state and national assembly elections held in Rivers State last weekend.
Arase laid the blame on the doorsteps of the political class for the mayhem that characterised the elections.
Speaking to reporters in Abakaliki during his one day working visit to Ebonyi State Police Command, Arase dismissed insinuations in some quarters that the police favoured the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the exercise.
He said: “It is not the police that ignited violence; it is the political class that ignited the violence. All we do is to ensure we secure conducive environment that can allow law abiding citizens to cast their votes in any election.
“The situation in Rivers has nothing to do with the police; it has to do with the political class.
“So, the police were neutral in the Rivers rerun and nobody can accuse us of bias or complicity or conniving with politicians or political party to frustrate the election.”
He called on police officers to be thorough in their investigations and to make friends with the members of the public for effective community policing.
The IGP reiterated his stand on dismantling of road blocks and warned policemen to avoid negative acts capable of portraying the police in bad light.
On the Ebonyi/Benue/Cross River boundary disputes that have claimed many lives, Arase noted that efforts were being made to restore normalcy in the disputed areas.