*Accuses INEC of colluding with PDP
Following the suspension of all processes in the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Rivers State, the African Action Congress, AAC, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of favouring the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Governor Nyesom Wike, with the suspension because the AAC candidate was already coasting to victory.
Governorship Candidate of the AAC, Engr. Biokpomabo Awara, made this position known during a press conference in Port Harcourt, Monday where he demanded that INEC accept the already collated results, conclude the process and declare him winner.
He accused Governor Wike, Local Government Chairmen and Councillors in the State of compromising the Resident Electoral Commissioner and other INEC Staff with heavy financial inducements to churn out results in favour of the PDP and return Wike as governor of Rivers State for a second term.
According to Awara, “The suspension of the elections by INEC was done to give respite to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was trailing behind and 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 Commissioner, 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. 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.”
He alleged that electoral officers in the state were compromised to return the PDP candidate as governor.
He accused the REC Mr. Obo Effanga of replacing INEC adhoc staff with card carrying members of PDP on the eve of the March 9 elections, proving his complicity ‘beyond every reasonable doubt’.
“…The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mr. Obo Effanga 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…..
“The said State Resident Electoral Commissioner Mr. Obo Effanga has not been able to conclude any election in Rivers State since he took over the office. You will all recall that the State Resident Electoral Commissioner Mr. Obo Effanga after suspending the PHALGA Constituency 111 State House of Assembly rerun election recklessly abandoned that election process since August 2018 till date. The AAC will not allow the State Resident Electoral Commissioner Mr. Obo Effanga and INEC to subvert a free and fair elections solely because it was obvious to them that their preferred candidate was losing the election,” Awara said.
Awara rejected INEC’s reason for suspending the election process, stating that it was only an excuse to deny him and his party of their anticipated victory.
He explained that, “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 where collations were not concluded clearly before the suspension of the processes show that I won over 15 Local Government Areas.
“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.
He said results had already been declared in Port Harcourt City LGA, Ahoada West, Eleme, Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru, Ikwerre and Oyigbo, with a combined result showing the AAC leading with 289,773 over the PDP 76,633, while collation was ongoing in the others.
Awara also berated Governor Wike for attempting to disrupt the collation process in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
“I must not fail to mention the role played by the Governor of Rivers State and the PDP Governorship Candidate in the State, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike during the collation process at the Obio Akpor Local Government Council Secretariat. The Governor stormed the collation center with his army of thugs numbering over 200 fully armed with AK-47 assault rifles and over powered the security official that were posted to the collation center to provide security and carted away all the electoral materials including both original copies of unit result sheets and ward collation sheets that were being used for the collation of results by the electoral official and took them to the Rivers State Government House where they were filled out with over inflated figures. The Army Captain and other military officers that were shot in the process are still in critical conditions at the Military hospital, Port Harcourt where they are receiving medical treatments.
He recalled the National Assembly rerun election in Rivers State of 2016, where according to him, “Governor Wike stormed the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Centre at the Port Harcourt City Local Government Council secretariat Port Harcourt in the same manner he stormed the Obio Akpor Local Government Collation Centre on Saturday and forced the Senatorial Collation Officer to declare Sen. George Thompson Sekibo as the winner at gunpoint.
“At the Emohua Local Government Area the Electoral officer absconded with all the sensitive election materials and ran to the INEC Head Offices in Port Harcourt pleading insecurity while the atmosphere was calm at the INEC office in Emohua.
“Obio/Akpor and Emohua Local Government Areas perhaps were the only 2 Local Government Areas that the collation process were disrupted. The said disruptions were caused by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party himself. Suspending the said election on the ground of violence will amount to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party benefiting from his own wrong,” Awara stated.
He demanded the immediate redeployment of the REC, Mr. Obo Effanga for gross incompetence and that INEC should accept the results already announced and declare him winner of the March 9 governorship election in Rivers State.