Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The All Progressives Congress-backed African Action Congress (AAC) in Rivers has said it would review its stand on the governorhip election results just as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is cruising home to victory having won 13 of the 15 local government areas (LGAs) so far collated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
This came as INEC commenced the collation of results of the March 9 governorship election in Rivers State in line with the timelines earlier released by the commission.
Although security was tight at the state headquarters of INEC along Aba Road, Port Harcourt, the military was conspicuously absent in the security architecture.
At the commencement of collation Tuesday, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Edo, River and Bayelsa, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, said the commission was committed to ensure a smooth and transparent process.
She recalled that security issues led to the suspension of the process in the state and said the commission was poised to bring the process to a logical end.
The State Returning Officer, Professor Teddy Adias, who coordinated the collation exercise, gave the assurance that INEC would be as fast as possible to see a successful completion of the election processes.
In the results so far collated, the PDP won in Ikwerre Local Government Area, the home of Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, where Governor Nyesom Wike polled 14,938 to beat Amaechi’s adopted candidate, AAC’s Biokpomabo Awara, who got 5,660 votes.
Wike also won in Port Harcourt, Andoni, Eleme, Opobo/Nkoro, Bonny, Okrika, and Omuma Local Government Areas.
Others won by Wike are Tai, Ahoada East, Emohua, Etche and Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Areas.
The AAC won in Oyigbo and Akuku-Toru Local Government Areas.
From the results so far collated, the PDP has garnered 426,279 votes while AAC has 127,992 votes.
Adias said the collation process would continue Wednesday.
Meanwhile, reacting to the collation exercise, state Secretary of AAC and agent for the collation of governorship results for the party, Nenye Kocha, described the collation process as transparent even though the party was not comfortable with the figures.
His words: “Things are now unveiling. We have been in the dark over what has been happening even when we had the unction that we were leading.
“In terms of transparency, the exercise is transparent. But the figures are not what we were expecting.
“As a party, we are going to review the gamut of all that had happened within the period and take a decision. The governorship candidate will also review the situation and take a stand.”
The agent of the PDP and former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Austin Opara, also commended the process as transparent and expressed happiness with the outcome so far.
Okpara of PDP said his party was “coasting home peacefully”, adding that security agencies and INEC, had demonstrated professionalism in their jobs.
“For very obvious reasons, it has been very peaceful. The trouble makers are not here. We are coasting home to victory and we will establish a New Rivers State.
“This will also end the anxiety that our people have been made to go through. We need to apologise to Rivers people for the stress they have been put through by a group of people who mismanaged their affairs and are looking for who to blame,” he said.
Meanwhile, some groups of protesters defied the State Government’s ban on protests and marched in the morning through some parts of the metropolis to protest against and for the collation of results by INEC.
The groups, United Niger Deltans for Buhari (UNDB) and Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisation in Rivers State marched in protest against the collation of the governorship and state assembly elections in the state.
However, the two groups moved from Air Force Junction on Aba Road through Rumuola to Agip junction in Port Harcourt but the protest came to an abrupt stop when they clashed with another group opposed to their protest.
What started as a peaceful protest turned bloody around Hotel Presidential-Birabi area of GRA, Port Harcourt, with stones, bottles and later gunshots freely used.
The timely intervention of the police however quelled the situation and restored the peace of the metropolis.
One of the leaders of the Protest, Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, blamed the State Government for the clash.
Sara-Igbe stated that the groups had obtained police permit before embarking on the protest, adding that the government could not use the police to enforce its order.
He said: “We obtained police clearance for the protest and police gave us go ahead order. Some boys were hired to disrupt the protest. They came and shot into the crowd. The government does not have respect for human lives.
“Our boys after they shot at us, thank God nobody died, came out to challenge the boys but I stopped them. They have shown that they are killers.”