- PDP calls for arrest of Amaechi, Abe, Peterside, others
- INEC suspends collation of results
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, yesterday declared that the state government has compiled videos of the atrocities committed by the military across the state during the Saturday rerun elections, saying the videos will be released to the public at the appropriate time.
Wike, in a statement yesterday issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, said with the declaration of results by returning officers in the respective constituencies, no INEC official is empowered by law to cancel, nullify or overturn the results.
The governor accused the military of being partisan in the polls, declaring that 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 veiled 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 plans a state of emergency in the state, should not be discountenanced as there is always an element of truth to every rumour.
According to him, the APC is merely involved in propaganda “to call a dog a bad name, create the impression of violence in order to decimate the party which is becoming stronger in the state by the day.”
On further rerun in eight local government areas of the state, Governor Wike said measures should be taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission, 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 on Sunday, 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.
INEC suspends rerun, declares result in 1 Federal and 9 State constituencies
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has suspended re-run elections in the Rivers State National Assembly and State House of Assembly seats held on Saturday, 19th March 2016.
The Commission said the action was necessitated by widespread reports of attacks leading to fatalities, kidnappings, ballot box snatching, diversion of officials and materials amongst others.
In a statement signed and issued by the Commission’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity Department, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, the Commission under difficult circumstances has been able to collate and declare results in 1 (one) Federal Constituency and 9 (nine) State Constituencies where disruption and malpractice were not so widespread.
“Having reviewed the situation, the Commission is compelled to suspend all further action concerning the exercise in all other constituencies in the state pending the receipt of a comprehensive report from its Field Officials and Monitors. For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that the suspension does not affect the constituencies where the exercise has been completed and the results declared by Returning Officers,” the Commission said.
INEC further stated that “some of the lections witnessed the disruption of the process, including the barricading of some of the INEC Local Government offices and Registration Area Centres, RACs, used for the distribution of Electoral materials which led to the late commencement of the exercise in some places and consequently, its smooth take off” maintaining that “of more serious concern was the level of threats and intimidation of election officials and voters by armed thugs and miscreants allegedly acting on behalf of some politicians, which marred the elections in some areas.
“There were reports of numerous attacks resulting in fatalities, kidnappings, ballot snatching, diversion of officials and materials, amongst others, which necessitated its suspension in 8 Local Government Areas”, INEC concluded.
APC seeks cancellation of rerun elections
Meanwhile, the Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, to cancel the Saturday rerun elections results in all the state.
Making the call yesterday at a press conference in Port Harcourt, the Chairman of the party, Chief Davis Ikanya, alleged that the PDP visited violence, intimidation on the electorate and rigged the elections.
Chief Ikanya regretted that the rerun elections were far from being free and fair, describing it as being worse than the cancelled ones.
He noted too that, Governor Nyesom Wike who criticized the commission for use of fake materials, still went ahead to accept results of PDP candidates returned in the elections.
Also accusing the PDP of connivance with the police to rig election, he accused the governor of involvement in murder attempt on the lives of Dr Dakuku Peterside and himself on Sunday.
The APC chairman further argued INEC cancelled the elections in local governments where the APC won, saying the development has put a question mark on the credibility of the entire process.
“Our position is that the whole process was compromised by the INEC and Wike. APC therefore calls on the INEC and his team to cancel all results of the March 19 rerun elections,” he stated.
PDP calls for arrest of Amaechi, Peterside
Also, following the violence that resulted in the deaths of many party faithful, the PDP has called for immediate arrest and prosecution of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, candidate of Rivers East Senatorial zone, Senator Magnus Abe, APC governorship candidate in the 2015 polls, Dakuku Peterside, Jukaye Flag Amachree and other party chieftains, for allegedly masterminding the spate of violence, killings and various cases of electoral malpractices during the Saturday rerun elections in some parts of the state.
PDP State Chairman, Brother Felix Obuah at a press briefing, yesterday, also demanded the arrest and prosecution of one Mr. Barry Mpigi for hijacking electoral materials in Tai LGA to his home town, Koroma, with the aid of the military, as well as the former Commissioner for Youth in the state, Mr. Felix Nwaeke.
The PDP chairman further alleged that the APC leaders worked in connivance with an Army captain, who absconded with all electoral materials for Ward 2, Obeakpu in Oyigbo LGA, as well as Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, who had shown that she lacks manners, and does not possess the honour of a woman, as she engaged in ballot paper hijack and falsification of polls’ results.
Brother Obuah said, it was most disappointing and embarrassing, that the APC chieftains preferred to act irresponsibly and undemocratically, by engaging in electoral frauds and using the military to intimidate the electorate and INEC officials in some parts of the rather than embarking on intensive campaigns to make the party known and popular in order to be voted for at the polls.
He condemned the involvement of the Army in the elections which heightened tension in the State and emboldened the APC chieftains to carry out nefarious conducts during the exercise in the State, including disrespecting State authorities, Court orders and rule of law.
The PDP Chairman also bemoaned the assassination attempt on the Chief of Staff, Government House, Engr. Emeka Woke, the assault on the Secretary to the State Government, Hon Kenneth Kobani and other PDP leaders, who had been marked for arrest and detention by the APC-federal government, using the Army and the DSS, on spurious allegations to ensure smooth sail by the APC in the elections.
Brother Obuah observed that, all suppressive and oppressive actions by the federal authorities, which have been very obvious in the re-run elections, are aimed at getting Rivers State, unfortunately, by all means, and which the electorate have resisted through their votes at the polls.
“Our understanding of all of this is that the APC is only trying to create a state of anarchy in this part of the country and then blame it on perceived political opponents, a development we have continued to abhor and will not be allowed to strive in the State.”
You can’t rig where you’re not popular, party tells APC
National vice chairman, South South, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, yesterday admonished the All Progressives Congress, APC, to jettison the idea of rigging the rerun election as no political party can successfully rig election where they are not popular.
Reacting to the stalemate in the final collation of the Rivers state rerun election, Dr Ojougboh said everyone is aware that the South South region is a stronghold of the PDP and the people are still very much with the party despite the loss of the presidential election last year.
Dr Ojougboh, who fielded questions from journalists at the PDP national secretariat Abuja, declared that any attempt by the government to use federal might to forcefully manipulate the outcome of the election will backfire as the people are resolute in defending their votes.
“The truth of the matter is that you cannot rig lections where you are not popular. The genesis of the crises in River state is not farfetched, the APC members in the South South they want to prove to the APC national leadership that they are on ground.
“In actual fact they are not and so any attempt. To rig the elections will be met with stiff resistance. That is what is playing out in Rivers state.
“If the APC government did not plan to interfere, if soldiers and police men and security were not deployed to and try to help the APC People on the ground in Rivers state, to rig the elections we would not have this crises.
“You can see that the result we have at the general election is repeating itself in this election. Again it is the character of APC to produce inconclusive elections. To force people to issue fake result sheet and deploy military personnel to go and rig result. that is why Nigerians and the international community must rise to advise the APC government.
“It is not a do or die affairs to want to inherit, coerce and acquire a state. Of course Rotimi Amaechi has been rewarded for the investment he did for APC. He should mind his job at the centre where he is minister.
“Wike should be allowed to run the state government. After four years he will have to be accountable to the people of Rivers state.
“The entire idea of trying to take over the Rivers state House of Assembly by force by rigging the elections so that the lawmakers can oppose Wike in governance is a badly throughout idea. So we employ the federal government and the APC to advise the APC Rivers state to tread cautiously, because peace has no alternative. If you do not prepare for peace, what you prepare for is war.
“So, we in the PDP, we respect law and order, what is happening in Rivers state today, is exactly what happened in Bayelsa, In Bayelsa, the teeming crowd will have to come and climb the armoured car like you saw in Russian It is the same thing in Rivers state.”