By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been warned not to manipulate the results of the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State in favour of the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Nyesom Wike, as such action is capable of truncating the nation’s nascent democracy.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, who gave the warning in a statement issued and circulated in Port Harcourt on Sunday, raised questions on some shrouded decisions of the INEC, as contained in a statement signed by its Director of Media, Mr. Festus Okoye, expressing the suspicion that the INEC hierarchy might be conniving with the PDP and Governor Wike to return him as Governor, the results of the election not being in his favour notwithstanding.
Eze, a known voice of the APC in the South-South region, reiterated that the governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Engr. Biokpomabo Awara, was leading with a very wide margin, from the results so far collated and announced in the five local government areas already done with, before the INEC announced the suspension of electoral process in the state.
Eze, however, lamented the fact that the INEC was allowing itself to be unduly influenced to truncate the wishes of the people of Rivers state, as overwhelmingly depicted in the voting pattern on Saturday, March 9, 2019, in which the AAC governorship candidate, Awara, was said to have taken a comfortable lead ahead of Wike and the PDP.
“The world is watching with breathtaking attention the funny game currently being played by the Nigerian INEC, prompted by the internal and external forces that may set Rivers state on unprecedented crisis that may truncate our nascent democracy if not handled carefully.
“INEC had, in a press statement by her Director of Media, Mr Festus Okoye, by midnight of 16th March, released its long awaited statement on the Rivers governorship election, where it had suspended the electoral process after 5 LGAs were declared and the AAC Candidate, Engr Awara Biokpomabo, was in an early lead.
“The statement was not clear which 17 LGAs unit results are collated as INEC claims the results are in its custody and what are the names of the remaining 6 LGAs where the unnamed or unknown soldiers and thugs disrupted Collation. The Public is aware that only 5 LGAs were declared before the disruption of collation by the governor at the Obio/Akpor council, where two soldiers were shot by the CSO to the Governor.
“It’s likely that the reason for the panel’s indictment of the Nigerian Army is to cow them into submission, so as to give PDP a leeway to obtain higher figures in the so-called remaining 6 LGAs, in order to close up the margin, since AAC is leading in the already collated results.
“Again, the report ignored the evidence obtained by the Nigerian Army from the fake military men in uniforms and police vests and if OBO EFFANGA will be allowed to complete the process, knowing how he has mobilised key PDP members to assist him in his rigging plots in favour of Governor Nyesom Wike.
“It is sad and unfortunate that due to the acts of misgovernance by the present administration in the State, every political commentator now describes the politics of Rivers State in the negative: a government that couldn’t pay the salaries of her civil servants or pay the pension of her pensioners. A government that has turned the famous Garden City associated with Port Harcourt, now known as the Garbage City of Nigeria. A government that has destroyed the education, agriculture, health and other sectors of the state. A government without plan for the future of her youths, but will rather prefer to arm and turn her youths into a security challenge for the State.
“This was a government massively voted out by her citizens during the 9th March 2019 general elections, a process which the Yakubu INEC had to abruptly disrupt, before the conclusion of the process of electing a new governor, in order to pave way for the macabre dance currently going on in Rivers state.
“This rejected governor is the person who the INEC is plotting to smuggle through devious arrangement as the governor-elect of the state, a ploy that may plunge the state into an unprecedented crisis that may truncate our nascent democracy.
“Whatever it is, if the ploy to delay and disrupt the collation process is to pave way for smuggling Wike back as Rivers state Governor it is dead on arrival. Wike is gone so far the governorship of Rivers state is concerned, no matter the tricks that INEC may likely deploy so the celebration by Governor Wike and his misguided cohorts on anticipated INEC rigging in their favour is a celebration of their ouster from governance in Rivers State”, he said.
Eze also condemned the leadership of the INEC for failing to commiserate with the Nigerian Army over for the loss of three of its in Rivers State.