Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Thousands of people gathered at the Polo Field and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s state headquarters in Port Harcourt yesterday as the commission presented certificates of return to the re-elected Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, and members-elect of the State House of Assembly.
In what appeared like a carnival, the people kept vigil on Aba Road around the GRA Junction and processed to the Polo Club after the Certificate of Return was presented to the governor.
They sang songs of praises to God for the victory of the PDP, despite “the evil machinations of the Nigerian Army” during the elections.
Presenting the certificates of return to the elected persons yesterday, National Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, urged the people to change the narrative of violence associated with elections in the state.
Yakubu who was represented by National Commissioner in charge of Rivers, Bayelsa and Edo States, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, thanked the people of the state for their contributions to the successful conduct of the 2019 general election in the state.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Obo Effanga, in his remarks, said despite pressures and attacks INEC conducted credible elections in line with extant laws.
He said: “For us in INEC Rivers State, we stayed focused on conducting a transparent, free, fair and credible election. As I kept promising, on behalf of my team, we were bound by the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act, other laws and guidelines for the elections. We were further bound by the pronouncements and decisions of courts.
Speaking after receiving the certificate of return, Wike, dedicated the victory to the people of the state who overwhelmingly voted for him.
He also dedicated the victory to Rivers people killed by the Nigerian Army in defence of their votes and democracy, stating that their sacrifices would never be forgotten.
“Today, I dedicate this victory to the people of Rivers State. I also dedicate this victory to those killed by the Nigerian Army in defence of votes and democracy. But for their sacrifice, we would not be here,” he said.