By Our Correspondent
The All Progressives Congress in Rivers State on Tuesday said officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in the state were cooperating with Governor Nyesom Wike to announce ‘concocted’ results from the Saturday’s elections.
The party praised the military, which the Peoples Democratic Party, on the other hand, had accused of interference in the Rivers elections. The military on Monday denied the accusation.
It is the APC’s first direct public involvement in the Rivers elections conundrum since it endorsed African Action Congress candidate, Biokpomabo Awara, to challenge Mr Wike of the PDP last week.
The party did not field candidates in the Rivers State elections due to a court order that barred it following its internal crisis.
INEC suspended the electoral process in the state on Sunday and the parties, as well as observers, now await the outcome of the commission’s investigation of reports of disruptions that affected voting and collation of results on Saturday.
In a statement signed by Chris Finebone, Rivers State APC Publicity Secretary, the party said it was dismayed that critical stakeholders including those who witnessed the killing of over 40 persons on the 2015 governorship election day alone, due to someone’s quest to become governor by all means, appear to be hoodwinked by the very same character to believe that security agents especially the Army should have stayed away to allow a repetition of what happened in 2015.
“With regard to the governorship election in Rivers State, we have observed with keen interest the macabre dance between Gov. Wike and INEC in Rivers State to upturn the popular will of the people expressed last Saturday and wish to call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to halt its macabre dance with Gov. Wike through its Rivers REC, Obo Effanga who plotted and engaged PDP card-carrying members as LGA Collation Officers just to skew the elections in favour of Gov. Wike and the PDP. It befuddles the mind how a self-confessed hater of President Buhari and his Change Agenda (Obo Effanga) will possibly serve as a REC in Rivers State and give everyone a fair chance. We call on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to redeploy Mr. Effanga from Rivers State without further delay in order to avoid possible crisis that may follow the organised crime being executed by Gov. Wike and Obo Effanga aimed at altering the result of the 2019 governorship polls in Rivers State.
“From yesterday and throughout last night to this moment, Gov. Nyesom Wike, some PDP leaders, Obo Effanga and some INEC staff have been re-writing unit results, an action we believe must have been initiated on the advice of INEC insiders. The exercise which is taking place in the Banquet Hall of Government House Port Harcourt is still ongoing.”
The statement also reads in part: “As a party that was solely at the receiving end of killings in Rivers State by the ruling PDP and their agents, the APC 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. We believe that if such a step was taken before or during the 2015 elections and thereafter, prominent APC members such as late Chief Christopher Adube and his 5 children and driver would not have been murdered in one fell swoop by PDP agents in ONELGA in just one evening leaving the young son of Chief Adube consigned to the wheel chair to date. Hon. Monday Eleanya, Mr. Frankline Obi, his wife and son killed and beheaded; shooting to death of Mr. Ipalibo Black-Duke in Akuku-Toru, subsequent killings and beheadings of APC members in ONELGA; the gruesome killing of Dr Vincent Eeebee in Yeghe among several others too numerous to mention here would most probably have been avoided.
“We are satisfied that the 2019 general elections is a clear departure from the orgy of violence and killings that characterised the 2015 elections. However, we send our heartfelt sympathy to the families of the slain INEC ad-hoc staff, Mrs Ibisaki Amachree, who died under curious circumstances while serving his fatherland during the Presidential and National Assembly elections. We also send our profound condolences to the families of the lieutenant of the Nigerian Army and other officers and men who were targeted and killed or injured by criminals in the state. We pray that God grant their souls eternal rest while giving their family members the fortitude to bear their losses.”
“We very well recognise that the governor of Rivers State has successfully extended his penchant to bribe every soul under the sun to include observers of elections and other stakeholders in the polity with a view to unleashing highly mendacious blackmail on our hardworking security agents and the intention is to get them out of the way for him to kill his way to power the second time. This is very unfortunate!
“We call on Rivers people and Nigerians not to be hoodwinked into believing that Nigerian security agencies interfered in the electoral process in Rivers State. That is only a clever narrative being planted in the media to particularly blackmail the military and the federal government into pulling out security agents from the state and returning it to the killing field many of us witnessed before, during and after the 2015 elections till date. Suffice to say that Rivers State has ever since 2015 become Nigeria’s headquarters of violence.”