By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The Rivers State African Action Congress (AAC) has expressed dissatisfaction over the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the collation of results for the governorship and state House of Assembly elections will be completed.
The electoral umpire had suspended the electoral process in the state following widespread violence orchestrated by thugs and military involvements.
But INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, who announced and that the results from 17 local governments out of 23 were available with declared results for 21 state constituencies out of 32 before the process was suspended, said on Saturday that the process would be completed.
But the Rivers State AAC Publicity Secretary, Felix Enimini William, said his party considers the signal coming from INEC unacceptable.
According to him, “The African Action Congress in Rivers State condemns in its entirety the memo released into media space by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by midnight purporting that governorship and state assembly elections results were available for seventeen (17) LGAs.
“Sadly, we are curiously surprised and disappointed that INEC deliberately refused to name the 17 local government areas. As far as this information is concerned, it is manifestly false and the attempt to shroud the LGAs claimed to have results in secrecy is a serious step by INEC to sway the outcome of the process in favour of Governor Nyesom Wike, its preferred candidate.”
AAC which served as alternative platform for the leadership of the APC after it was unable to present candidates for elections in the state following court rulings, expressed fears that the electoral umpire was working to favour the incumbent Governor Wike.
“We suspect that INEC might be working to surreptitiously bring in cooked up results credited to Obio/Akpor to skew the balance of reality of things in favour of Wike. We vehemently reject this and will resist it with every pint of blood in us.
“It is now clear to all that INEC has become deaf and blind to the fact that Governor Nyesom Wike invaded the Obio/Akpor collation centre and ordered his security men to shoot an Army Captain and another soldier providing perimeter security to the collation centre. The Captain and his colleague are still in hospital after undergoing serious surgery.
“We ask: Is it so difficult for INEC to name the 17 LGAs? If INEC has agreed and accepted that four collation officers are card-carrying members of PDP and INEC have now sanctioned them, what happens to the results they collated having not been qualified to do so ab initio?
“The AAC calls on INEC to stop its collaboration with Governor Nyesom Wike and the PDP. It must declare Engr. Biokpomabo Awara our governorship candidate winner of the March 9 governorship election as it was glaring that he was winning until INEC stepped in to halt the process apparently to save Wike from an earth-shaking defeat,” Williams noted.
On the argument that the AAC and its candidate are not popular enough to win the Rivers State governorship election, arguing that those pushing that position are being clever by half, saying “Can the governor and his ilk also say that APC that threw its weight behind us, for obvious reasons, are not popular and on ground in Rivers State?”