By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The Director of Strategic Communications for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, Prince Tonye Princewill, has expressed dissatisfaction with the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, over the claim that all court judgments have been obeyed by the electoral umpire as regards the state.
The INEC chairman had told journalists at a final press briefing before the election held at the International Conference Centre (ICC) that: “I am not aware there is any live order in the case of Rivers that INEC has not obeyed. By yesterday, I was aware there was a Court of Appeal judgment but everybody knows what the judgment is. I don’t know there is any live order that INEC has not obeyed in the case of Rivers.”
But in a swift reaction, Princewill, a former governorship candidate in Rivers State, said: “The INEC chair said he was unaware of any live order in Rivers. Can you imagine?”
According to him, “It seems quite clear, in light of the information available to us that the Rivers matter is not final in spite of what the INEC Chairman has said. One would have thought that INEC would have removed itself from taking sides in one form or the other until a final judgment is given.
“Placing all parties on the ballot allows INEC to remain neutral so that on conclusion of elections, whatever is resolved in court applies. INEC then would have not hurriedly excluded any party.”
APC supporters in the state are insisting that all the rulings from the Supreme Court are technical; that the substance of the matter has not yet been discussed at the Supreme Court; that INEC is not a party to the case and that the case they are party to has put APC on the ballot and that the Supreme Court position on that particular case sustains that position.