*Says commission’s actions illegal
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has faulted the decisions taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission with regards to the inconclusive elections in six states, particularly Rivers and Bauchi.
The party said that INEC must put a halt to the madness and brazen illegality.
After the March 9 governorship elections across the country, the polls in six states – Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto – were declared inconclusive by INEC.
In a statement issued on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Isa-Onilu, APC alleged there was an unholy alliance between Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and INEC to impose the PDP candidate, Wike, on the people.
The party said it was concerned and deeply troubled by the unfolding events in Rivers State.
APC said it was glaring that Wike was losing until INEC stepped in to halt the process apparently to save him from impending defeat.
“The desperation of the PDP governorship candidate, Governor Nyesom Wike, to remain in office even if it means destroying the State and killing its people, is throwing the State into turmoil and crisis,” it said.
With regard to the governorship election in Rivers State, APC said it had observed with dismay the macabre dance between Wike and INEC.
According to APC, it is on record that Wike through the Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Obo Effanga, engaged PDP cardcarrying members as Local Government Area (LGA) Collation Officers to skew the elections in favour of Wike and the PDP.
APC asked the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to immediately redeploy Mr. Effanga from Rivers State in order to avoid crisis that may follow the organised crime being executed by Wike and Obo Effanga to rig and alter the result of the 2019 governorship polls in Rivers State in favour of the PDP candidate.
APC further alleged that since the suspension of the electoral process in Rivers State, Governor Wike and Effanga had been rewriting and doctoring unit results in Rivers State Government House to favour Wike.
APC said that as party that was solely at the receiving end of the killings in Rivers State, it believes that the proactive steps taken by security agents to checkmate a repeat of the 2015 killings and destructions, is commendable and should be applauded by all peace loving people.
It said Nigerians and the international community should not be hoodwinked into believing that Nigerian security agencies interfered in the electoral process in Rivers State.
“It is a misleading narrative being planted in the media to particularly blackmail the military and the federal government into pulling out security agents from the state, thereby returning the State to the killing field many of us witnessed before, during and after the 2015 elections.
“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 with over 200 armed thugs and ordered his security men to shoot an Army Captain and another soldier providing perimeter security to the Collation Centre.
“Wike’s thugs carted away the electoral materials including both original copies of unit result sheets and ward collation sheets that were being used for the collation of results and took them to the Rivers State Government House where they were filled out with rigged and inflated figures,” the party said.
APC also contested the declaration of the governorship election result of Benue state inconclusive, saying there is no doubt that its candidate, Emmanuel Jime, won the election.
They called on INEC to declare the candidate of the APC, the winner of the governorship polls, in line with the Electoral Act and in line with the position of some of the observers.
It claimed that its candidate obtained the highest number of legitimate votes with the use of card reader.
On the supplementary election in Kano, APC said the opposition PDP camp was engaging in self-deceit and had been deluding itself on its nonexistent electoral chance in Nasarawa local government area.
“Considering what happened in the inconclusive election widely characterized by PDP vote buying and voter intimidation, relevant agencies must ensure that such antidemocratic practice is not repeated,” it said.
As for the supplementary poll in Bauchi state, APC said it was opposed to INEC’s decision on the governorship election results from Tafawa Balewa local government area in Bauchi State, as signed and announced by the electoral body’s National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.
The party alleged that the close relationship between Festus Okoye who chaired the fact-finding committee and Yakubu Dogara of the PDP was well known, adding that it has rendered him inappropriate for the fact-finding exercise for Bauchi state.
It said that INEC had failed to adhere to the fundamental principle of fair hearing by not inviting APC agents during the hearing to ascertain the circumstances leading to the cancellation of the Tafawa Balewa local government election result.
“INEC’s decision is illegal as the electoral body contravenes the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended,” APC said.
In Adamawa, the party said it had reported over-voting and use of security personnel to intimidate APC agents and supporters.
“We equally urge INEC and relevant security agencies to ensure the supplementary election is free, peaceful and fair compared to the last inconclusive governorship election in the state which was characterised by many irregularities and voter intimidation. No political ambition is worth the life of any voters,” it said.