Rivers rerun: Peterside, APC reject Etche/Omuma results, to challenge INEC’s declaration FeaturedWritten by LEDUM PRINCE
Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State in the 2015 governorship election, Dr. Dakuku Petreside, has rejected the declaration of results as made early on Sunday by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as regards the supplementary election held on Saturday in Etche and Omuma. Peterside’s rejection of the results came as the party leadership in the state also said it would not accept the result since INEC had on Saturday declared the election inconclusive.
Peterside, who accused INEC in the state of being compromised by Governor Nyesom Wike, accused the governor of manhandling INEC officials and forcing them to do his bidding all in an effort to prove that his factionalized PDP is a popular party in Rivers State.
In an interview with journalists in Port Harcourt, Dr. Peterside expressed regrets over the way and manner INEC in Rivers state went about announcing results from an election, which the Commission had earlier declared inconclusive. He stressed that INEC clearly violated its own rules and guidelines.
According to him, “the results clearly do not reflect what transpired during the election of yesterday(Saturday), even though it added the discredited results of earlier elections of March 19 and December 10 last year”. The former governorship candidate pointed out that in many areas, thugs and hoodlums allegedly hired by Governor Wike and PDP intimidated voters, while in some cases, INEC officials were abducted.
“It is on record that security personnel arrested loyalists of Governor Wike and mercenaries hired by the PDP with dangerous weapons”, Peterside added.
“Wike arrived INEC office at about 12:35am yesterday and attempted to force the Returning Officer to announce results which the official had earlier declared inconclusive as elections did not take place in majority of the polling booths. The returning officer insisted that announcing results the way it is would amount to discrediting substantial number of voters who were denied opportunity to vote by thugs and hoodlums.
“How could INEC allow itself to be compromised by Wike, who has a long history of bribing electoral officials? Only recently, INEC officials who served in the state during last December 10rerun election were indicted by police for receiving several millions of naira to influence results.
“Wike was seen with INEC officials computing results of the election. How did the governor get there? Is the governor a returning officer? Is he an INEC official or a security agent?
“How could Wike be standing with INEC officials where results were being computed? Under which law is a governor permitted to be present where results are being computed for legislative elections in a local government that is clearly not his? Am sure Rivers people are watching this.
“At every election, Wike becomes desperate, as if his life depended on the outcome. He becomes desperate because he wants the people to believe that only PDP exists in Rivers state. Why is he afraid of a free and fair process that will allow Rivers people chose their preferred candidates?”, he queried.
The former House of Representatives member for Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency appealed to party faithful in the state to continue to toe the path of peace, insisting that in due course, Rivers people will know those genuinely interested in progress of the state.
On its part, APC in Rivers State rejected the purported results for Etche State Constituency and Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency Etche/Omuma rerun elections, saying that the two Returning Officers, Prof. Olatunbosun Odusanya and Prof. Omotola, had declared them inconclusive and had fixed further elections for Sunday or Monday.
“However, we were taken aback when it was reported that the National Electoral Commissioner in charge, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, had ordered that the incomplete results be declared despite the earlier declaration by the two Returning Officers on Saturday at Okehi(headquarters of Etche local government) that the elections were inconclusive”, APC explained in the statement signed by its State Chairman, Mr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya.
“The APC vehemently rejects the results as declared today (Sunday) at the State INEC Office in Port Harcourt. This action by INEC runs counter and contradictory to earlier announcement on Saturday by the aforementioned Returning Officers who are the duly empowered persons to make such declarations. What INEC did today is a rape on democracy and the APC will surely resist it with every legal window available to it. INEC can only do what it did today because Gov. Nyesom Wike has, as usual, generously compromised key officials of INEC in Rivers State.
“The APC notes that despite the general outcry concerning Gov. Nyesom Wike’s interference in the electoral process, the governor physically held hostage a Returning Officer to force him announce results in a manner unbecoming of a governor. We condemn this and call on INEC leadership and security agencies to investigate this unfortunate incidence.
“We recall that this same compromised INEC in Rivers State embarked on the now infamous 2015 elections which is unarguably the worst election in the annals of Nigeria. During the December 10, 2016 rerun that followed, INEC continued to exhibit unwarranted contradictions and unwholesome mishandling of the process which resulted in the further rescheduling of the rerun elections for Etche State Constituency and Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency. Sadly, INEC has, once again, bungled it.