- INEC starts to tally figures tomorrow
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prepares to complete the Rivers State governorship and state House of Assembly elections, which was suspended on March 10, following violence at some collation centres, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), of plotting to scuttle the process.
INEC said on Saturday in Port Harcourt that no fresh elections would be held in the state, saying there would be a process to complete the election, which was suspended on March 10 following violence at some collation centres.
INEC National Commissioner supervising Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers states, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, made the clarification while addressing stakeholders as part of the process for the completion of the election.
Agbamuche-Mbu said results of the governorship election in 17 of the 23 local government areas of the state were safe in the strong room of the commission in Abuja.
Addressing the stakeholders, Agbamuche-Mbu said the commission would conclude the collation of the Rivers State governorship election between April 2 and 5, adding that the process will be transparent.
“All the results are with us in our strong room. They have not been tampered with. We are going to conduct the collation transparently. INEC is here to complete this process and we shall complete the process successfully,” she stated.
The INEC National Commissioner said though the commission did not know the winners of the elections, all the results were intact in INEC’s custody, adding that the electoral commission would religiously follow the timelines outlined by it for the collation of the governorship election results.
However, PDP in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has been boastfully claiming that the AGF was working on a script whereupon he would write to the Chairman of the INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to direct him to stop the collation of results.
The PDP cautioned Malami to restrain himself from being used to commit unconstitutional act in the collation of results already scheduled to begin in the state on Tuesday.
He said it is imperative for the AGF to note that Amaechi, in his desperation, would want to rope him in and use him to cause a constitutional crisis that has the capacity to derail the nation’s democracy.
Ologbondiyan noted: “Our party urges the AGF to note that there is no provision of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) or any part of the Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended) that in anyway, empowers the AGF to interfere or stop the process of election, until declaration of result is made.
“The constitution and laws of our nation are clear on the powers and statutory functions of the Attorney General and that he has no powers to interfere in the conduct of elections or direct the stoppage of an electoral process.
“The AGF should therefore distance himself from the ignoble scheme by Rotimi Amaechi to cause trouble in Rivers State by attempting to scuttle the collation of results in the Rivers governorship election, which has been clearly won by the PDP and Governor Nyesom Wike.”
The PDP urged INEC to save the nation a serious crisis by asserting its independence in concluding the collation process as well as respecting the will of the people, as expressed at the polls on March 9, by declaring Wike as rightful winner of the election without further delay.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State chapter of the PDP has described the accusation by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state that INEC is favouring Governor Wike, as unfounded.
In a statement signed on its behalf by the Director of Information of the PDP Campaign Council, Emma Okah, the party stated that the allegation doesn’t hold water and that it is the same old song; empty, meaningless and senseless.
“Majority of Rivers people don’t take the APC in the state serious. They blame everybody apart from themselves for every problem. When they had internal problems that cost them their place in the ballot, they blamed others. When their adopted puppet in AAC could not win one unit in the state because he was unknown and never campaigned, the APC blamed others,” the statement said.
Likening APC to a bad workman, who is always quarrelling with his tools, PDP frowned at the way and manner in which APC teaches INEC, soldiers and police how to do their job.
The party also warned APC to stop resorting to blackmail whenever they meet disapproval.
While stating that it was not in position to speak for INEC, PDP said it was in doubt that APC’s subtle threat would be noted and handled appropriately.