For six days the Rivers State APC and her governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside treated Nigerians to a poorly scripted comic shown in the name of putting up a case that no election took place in Rivers State.
The difference between the Rivers State APC show and a night of a thousand laugh is the proverbial difference between six and half a dozen. In league with the powers that be, the Rivers State APC tore to shreds everything that Nigerians held sacred.
They dragged the military and the security agencies into their desperation for political relevance and allegedly bribed one or two misguided INEC staff to sing from an evil hymn book. Of course, they had in their kitty the state owned news wire service to disseminate their falsehood and prolonged ill-scripted comedy.
Several questions were left unanswered by the desperate Rivers State APC at the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. Where are their party agents at the polling units and wards who directly participated in the governorship election? Where are the persons who witnessed the military and police assisting PDP rig the election? Where are the victims of the governorship election violence that the Rivers State APC bragged about? Where are the police officers the Rivers APC claimed received direct orders from the former First Lady to rig? Why did the Rivers APC not provide evidence of electoral malpractices in the 4442 polling units of Rivers State? Why did they have to rely on hearsay from directly subpoenaed and evidently compromised security agents? Why did they shun the official reports of security agencies submitted after the election? Why have they shunned INEC official report on Rivers election which is a product of investigation based on their protest petition after the election? Why are they no longer singing the praises of Prof Jega?
The Rivers APC had no answers to these critical questions, hence they went on a propaganda spree steeped in self delusion. They took this face saving route to deceive their few supporters, those who believe in propaganda and the APC national leadership.
But like the legendary Bob Marley sang, ‘you can fool some people sometimes, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.
I had pointed out in previous essays that the reporters at the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal failed to give due attention to the cross examination of the ill-advised witnesses called by the Rivers State APC and her governorship candidate. If they did, majority of Nigerians would have long ago discovered that the governorship election held in compliance with the Electoral Act.
For one, none of the security agents who appeared agreed that he participated in electoral fraud or that he witnessed a sister agency doing so. None of them arrested anyone and none wrote a report. Even those who claimed a report was written, refused to tender same. All of them claimed they were told. ‘Dem say’…as we say in local parlance. Lawyers call it hearsay.
If Rivers State APC were really interested in making a case, where did they keep their local government agents, ward agents and so-called international observers that they bragged about in their documentaries shortly after Governor Wike won? Why did they fall back on the powers that be to force the security agencies to lie through their teeth?
A man who shouted himself hoarse claiming there was no election when he climbed the stage, suddenly had no tune to play. The ill-scripted Rivers State APC Governorship Petition finally caved in when the party’s candidate took the witness stand as their final and most important witness.
Under cross examination, he fumbled, unwittingly confessing that elections held, only that he lost. Dakuku Peterside told the tribunal that it was only in areas where he won that INEC with the support of security agents conduct the governorship election in compliance with the Electoral Act.
Asked whether the security agents at Eleme LGA where he won were different from those in other LGAs he accused of colluding with PDP to allegedly rig the election , Dakuku said different personnel were deployed to Eleme. He even said INEC staff in Eleme performed above board without any corrupt tendencies.
It is sad that Dakuku Peterside and his co-travellers in the Rivers APC thought that this ‘lie lie’ game would go on forever with the aid of their propaganda specialists. Expectedly, it was Dakuku Peterside himself who let the cat out of the bag that elections were conducted across Rivers State on April 11.
Providence has a way of revealing the truth. The Internet space has witnessed some peace since Dakuku flopped in the witness box.
The truth is that Dakuku Peterside and the Rivers APC were rejected because their sponsor, Rotimi Amaechi failed woefully. He and his party were involved in maladministration, mismanagement of state resources and the betrayal of public trust. Nobody in the state wanted to touch Amaechi with a long spoon. If Amaechi was popular as his propagandists claimed, he would have accepted Wike’s challenge to vie for a Senate seat like Kwankwaso did.
Now that Rivers State APC poorly scripted comedy has come to an end, let’s settle down to hear the truth about the Rivers State Governorship Election. The INEC officials who conducted the election have reeled out verifiable facts and tendered official documents. It is no longer a case of ‘dem say’, we are now faced with reality.
The issue of the improper use or non-use of card readers in the accreditation process has already been settled by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division in the appeal filed by PDP governorship candidate, Mr Jimi Agbaje against the election of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Permit me to copiously quote the Appeal Court: “The paragraph (13b) displays a vitriolic attack on the irregularities germinating from the improper or non-use of the smart card readers in the polling units.
“As it is, it has no life of its own as a ground. It endeavours to introduce the defects in the use of smart card readers. The evolution of the concept of smart card reader is a familiar one. It came to being during the last general election. On this score, it is a nascent procedure injected into our infant and fledgling electoral system to ensure credible and transparent election.
“The extant Electoral Act (2010) which predates the concept (of card reader) is not its parent or progenitor. Since it is not the progeny of the Electoral Act, fronting it as a ground to challenge any election does not have its (the Electoral Act’s) blessing, nay Section 138 (1) of it.
“Put simply, a petitioner cannot project the non-presence or improper use of smart card reader as a ground for questioning an election. It does not qualify as one.”
Recall that the INEC Electoral Officer of Obio /Akpor, Mr Ebikoro Tebekaemi in his testimony at the Tribunal on Thursday declared that at no time did INEC officials meet to decide that only card readers would be used for the governorship election. That one Secretary issued a personally signed press release in the middle of an election process amounts to nothing. Furthermore, former INEC national chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega wouldn’t have declared Rivers State governorship election free and fair in Nigeria and the United States of America if the laws on accreditation were breached.
The men who think they can take Rivers State for a ride have put themselves to public ridicule. Nothing can be more humiliating for a man than being presumed to be talking like a child.
Nwakaudu, media aide to Governor Wike wrote in from Port Harcourt