By Seama Lazarus Jacobs
Regulus, Port Harcourt(Rivers)- The Rivers State 2019 governorship election was full of several intrigues and surprises as the oil rich state went to the poll to elect their number one citizen. The Independent National Commission (INEC) pulled the first surprise by postponing the elections from 2nd to 9th of March, 2019.
The last Saturday election was a titanic battle between two front runners incumbent Governor Nyesom Wike and Rivers State chapter All Progressive Congress (APC) adopted candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Egnr AwaraBiokpomabo.
The election was a tense battle which produced so many surprises in the House of Assembly results and even in the governorship results released so far. The candidate of Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, won the Ahoada west, House of Assembly seat. Also the candidates of Social Democratic Party, SDP, won in both Ikwerre and Eleme LGAs, even many other LGAs where results are yet to be announced.
The results were still being Collated when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) pulled another surprise game by suspending the collation of results for 48 hours. This the AAC candidate is not taking lightly and he has issued a press release to that effect. This has really caused so much tension in the state and if care is not take can cause disturbance of the peace of Rivers State.
Almost all other states are concluding their elections already while that of Rivers State will wait for another 48 hours. If INEC had consulted widely enough with stakeholders maybe some measures would been taken to address the lingering issues instead of suspending the collation.
The press release from AAC candidate;
“My name is Engr. Awara Biokpomabo, the Governorship candidate for the African Action Congress (AAC), the candidate leading in the Governorship election. You are all welcome to this press conference on the state of the Governorship and House of Assembly elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the 09-03-2019.”
“My Party, the African Action Congress (AAC) a duly registered Political Party fielded candidates for the Governorship, House of Representatives, Senate, and House of Assembly positions for the General Elections held on the 9th day of March, 2019.”
“The aforesaid elections held as scheduled and proceeded up to collation stage in some Local Government Areas, and in some other Local Government Areas, results had already been collated and declared, before the Independent National Electoral Commission suspended the remaining stages of the election, which I was in clear lead and was coasting to victory.”
“Some of the unit results announced at the polling units in the Local Government were collations were not concluded clearly before the suspension of the processes show that I won over 15 Local Government Areas.”
“The INEC pleaded insecurity, violence, seizure of electoral materials by hoodlums etc. as the reasons for suspending the remaining stages of the Election.”
“I reject the reason given by INEC. This is because in the Local Government Areas that were affected, voting had concluded, results declared at the polling units and collation had begun before the abrupt suspension of the process.
The Commission does not have the power under our Electoral Act to suspend elections that has already been concluded.”
“My agents at the field reported to me that the results had already been declared in the under listed Local Government: S/N LGA AAC PDP i. PORT HARCOURT CITY LOCAL GOVERNMENT 11,866 42,190 ii AHOADA WEST 44,857 5,866 iii ELEME 27,712 4,436 iv ASARI-TORU 18,834 2,239 v AKUKU TORU 57,815 5,696 vi IKWERRE 96,663 7,554 Vii OYIGBO 32,026 8,652 TOTAL 289,773 76,633.”
“The Local Government Areas collations were ongoing were: i. Opobo/Nkoro ii. Abua/Odual iii. Okirika iiii. Ogu/Bolo v. Khana vi. Degema vii. Tai viii. Obio/Akpor ix. Gokana x. Bonny xi. Ahoada East xii. Omuma xiii. Andoni xiiii. Etche xv. Emohua xvi. Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni.”
“The suspension of the elections by INEC was done to give respite to candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was trailing behind, to frustrate my victory. My party went into these elections against an umpire dangerously skewed in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
“The Resident Electoral Commission, all the Electoral Officers, Assistant Electoral Officers, Heads of Department in the Rivers Offices of The Commission were all working for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.”
“No wonder when they saw that I was leading and would eventually win the election, they raised a false alarm to the Headquarter of the Commission and misinformed them that there was widespread violence and seizure of electoral materials.”
“We have on good authority the following facts: i.Every Local Government Council Chairman in Rivers State pays the sum of One Million Naira (N1,000,000) the Electoral Officer assigned to his Local Government and other sums of money to other electoral personnel; ii.The Resident Electoral Commissioner was bought a house for in Maitama Area of Abuja by the Governor of Rivers State, Barr Nyesom Wike, who incidentally is the Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); and iii.The Administrative Secretary of the Rivers State office of the Commission, Elder Etim John was paid the sum of Three Hundred Million (N300,000,000) Naira by Governor Wike as inducement to secure 100 percent posting of the Ad-hoc staff list in favour of the PDP.”
“To justify the financial inducement given to him by the Governor, the said Administrative Secretary Elder Etim John did not only ensure that the posting of the Ad-hoc staff overtly favoured the PDP but he also got carried away to the extent that he even included the names of well known relatives of some PDP candidates and chieftains in the list.”
“On his part the State Resident Electoral Commisioner (REC) Mr. Oboe Efaga on the eve of the election replaced most of the ad-hoc workers which were already published on the Commission’s notice boards with the names of card carrying members of the PDP. For instance, in the following Local Government Areas the under listed persons were suddenly deployed as Local Government Collation Officers: i.Emohua ——- Dr. Peter Medee a card carrying member of the PDP ii.Khana ——– Mr. Gbenekanu Ledornu who is both a card carrying member of the PDP and the younger brother of Dr. Barr Mpigi (a Senatorial Candidate of the PDP) was appointed Returning Officer for Khana LGA. He said.”