- INEC Commissioners meet today over PDP, APC claims
Strong indications emerged yesterday that the Federal Government is set to probe the violence that trailed the March 19 National and State Assembly rerun elections in Rivers State.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that the inquiry is being arranged through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in liaison with that of the Director General of the Department of State Services, Inspector General of Police, and the Chief of Army Staff.
A highly placed source in the AGF office told this medium during the Easter that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered key security agencies and personnel involved in the polls, including the Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, SAN, to look into the matter dispassionately and come out with the dramatis personae involved in the violence that resulted to killings and malpractices during t5he elections, in order to arm the government in meting out the right punishment to them.
Nigerian Pilot recalled that the State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike had, following the spate of violence in Rivers, set up a five-man panel to probe the elections, which claimed a National Youth Service Corps, NYSC member.
According to the source, the President is piqued with the role security agencies, particularly the Army played during the elections, based on the interim report filed by INEC officials that conducted the elections in the state.
The source further added that, the panel is most likely to be inaugurated in the next one week in order to begin a holistic probe of the recurrent political upheavals in the state.
Governor Wike had last week declared that the state government has compiled videos of the atrocities committed by the Military across the state during the rerun elections, saying that the footages will be released to the public at the appropriate time.
A statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu also quoted Governor Wike as stressing that, with the declaration of results by returning officers in the respective constituencies, no INEC official is empowered by law to cancel or nullify such results.
According to Nwakaudu, the orchestrated violence in the state could be part of a plot by the APC to declare a state of emergency on the state on the premise of heightened propaganda.
Wike said: “We have videos of the atrocities committed by the military across Rivers State. We shall release them at the appropriate time.
“There is an attempt to cause violence to declare a state of emergency in Rivers State.”
He noted that the statement by the National Secretariat of the PDP that the Federal Government planned a state of emergency in the state should not be disregarded as there is always an element of truth to every rumour.
According to him, the APC is merely involved in propaganda to create the impression of violence.
On the further rerun in eight local government areas, Governor Wike said measures should be taken by INEC to address the challenges noticed during the March 19 elections.
He suggested that one Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC should be assigned to one local government area for greater efficiency in the conduct of the polls.
The governor said that the PDP won the elections in the declared constituencies because Rivers State is purely a PDP state.
“While we campaigned, they were not campaigning. With what I have done in a few months, it will be difficult to defeat PDP in the state,” he stated.
On the failed attempt by the defeated Rivers State APC governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside to hijack result spreadsheet from Ikwere /Emohua Federal Constituency in Isiokpo, Governor Wike said it was unfortunate that the APC used the media to lie that the APC chieftain escaped assassination attempt. He said the falsehood was possible because APC controls the management of majority of the media.
The governor explained that Rivers State since the 1970s has always been a one -party state, but noted that in 2015, an opposition party arose for the first time.
“Now, we have a strong opposition for the first time. It is a healthy development,” he said.
Meanwhile, the leadership of INEC is meeting today to take a decision on the rerun elections.
The National Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu alongside all the National Commissioners are expected to decide on wither to officially announce the result of the rerun elections conducted in the state or tell Nigerians the stand of the electoral umpire on the inconclusive polls.
Nigerian Pilot learnt yesterday that the leadership of the commission is under intense pressure to declare all the results of the rerun polls.