Witnesses called by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday at the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal declared that the soldiers and mobile policemen invited by the Rivers State All Progressives Congress, APC, lied on oath before the tribunal because they did not come close to the polling units.
They stated that the said security agents were ignorant of the electoral processes at the polling units where conventional policemen provided security, with party agents and observers present.
The witnesses further insisted before the Justice Suleiman Ambrosa-led Tribunal that the elections were peaceful, credible and all legal procedures followed to reach the declaration of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as the winner of the Rivers State governorship election on April 11.
They added that the card readers and manual accreditation were used during the election. n
The eight INEC witnesses who testified yesterday were presiding officers in five local government areas, namely; Degema, Gokana, Ogba /Egbema / Ndoni (ONELGA , Andoni and the Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate’s LGA, Opobo/Nkoro.
The INEC witnesses were led in evidence by the counsel to INEC, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN.
Derekunor Richmond, who served as Presiding Officer at Ward 4 Unit 10 described the soldiers who testified earlier as liars who were not at the polling unit.
He said that the governorship election was peaceful, credible and conducted in line with the Electoral Act and INEC guidelines, pointing out that at the ward collation centre where results were compiled, he met other presiding officers who participated in the collation exercise.
Another Presiding Officer, Nwachukwu Chimezie who conducted election at Unit 9, Ward 14 of Degema LGA noted that the election was peaceful and credible, pointing out that the soldiers and mobile policemen who testified before the tribunal lied on oath.
He said that Degema LGA was peaceful on election day as he slept in the town on April 10, 2015 with no case of shooting or thuggery witnessed. He added that all electoral procedures were followed before the results were declared in the presence of party agents.
Another INEC witness, Apoodari Dilo, who was the Presiding Officer for Unit 4 Ward 4 in Gokana LGA berated the soldiers for lying that there was violence during the governorship election.
He stated that he slept at Gokana LGA on the night preceding the election and it was peaceful, with no shooting or violence. Dilo said the election was successful and credible.
Onyije Ifeanyi who served as Presiding Officer in Ogba / Egbema / Ndoni LGA confirmed that the election was peaceful, credible and conducted in line with the Electoral Act.
He wondered why the soldiers and mobile policemen invited by the Rivers State APC would lie under oath when they never participated in the election.
Ifeanyi added that if there were killings in the Local Government Area as the soldiers alleged, there was no way he would have stayed there to complete the election process and collate results in the presence of party agents.
He said the soldiers and mobile policemen simply cooked the story.
The Presiding Officer for unit 12 Ward 1 of Opobo / Nkoro LGA where the Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate, Mr Dakuku Peterside hails from, Mohammed Yusuf said contrary to claims by the soldiers and mobile policemen, nobody disrupted the voting process.
Maxwell Loveday , Presiding Officer of Unit 6 Ward 9 of Andoni LGA said there was no incident of violence as election held peacefully with all processes followed and collation of votes carried out.
The Presiding Officer for Unit 8, Ward 1 of Degema LGA, Tuboni McBala said all electoral procedures were observed before he went to the ward collation centre where he met other presiding officers for the ward collation.
He noted that the soldiers and mobile policemen merely lied at the tribunal as they were not part of the voting process.
Ogunkoya Olumide Adewale who served as Presiding Officer at Unit 5 Ward 4 in Degema LGA said he had a successful voting and collation process, while there were no soldiers at the polling unit.
He said that he travelled to Bakana, a riverine community, a day before the election and slept there without any incident of violence before and during the election.
Under cross examination by the counsel to Rivers State APC, Akin Olujimi, SAN, the presiding officers Maintained that elections held and the legal procedures were used to get to the declaration of results.
They insisted that the card readers and manual accreditation were used for the governorship election in line with the training they received.
They pointed out that they were never instructed to postpone the election on account of malfunctioning card readers.


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