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APC, PDP trade blame over bloody Rivers rerun

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APC seeks cancellation of polls
•Hold Amechi responsible, says PDP

The Rivers All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday called for the cancellation of Saturday‘s re-run election because it was not credible. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) blamed it all on the APC.

APC Chairman Chief Davies Ikanya told a news conference in Port Harcourt, the state capital that the outcome of the election was not acceptable because the process was not free, fair and credible.

“The position of Rivers APC is that the entire re-run elections in the state were marred by irregularities, violence and unlawful interference by the State Government.

“Inadequate security compromised the process, especially with indiscriminate, irregular and untrained ad-hoc staff,” he said.

Ikanya said the conduct of the elections fell far below acceptable standard, as it was worse than the 2015 governorship election.

He said no credible result would come out of the elections.

“The APC, therefore, calls on INEC to cancel the entire re-run elections in the state to enable it to correct the pitfalls”, he said.

The APC also insisted that Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should be held responsible for the electoral violence in the state.

Among those who attended the conference was the deputy governorship candidate of the party in the April 11, 2015 election, Asita Honourable.

Rivers Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through its Chairman, Chief Felix Obuah, however, called for the arrest of Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi the governorship candidate of the APC during last year’s election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; and other leaders of the party, for electoral violence.

Rivers APC said: “The position of the APC is that the entire rerun election was marred by irregularities, violence and unlawful interference by Nyesom Wike, inadequate security, compromised process, especially with indiscriminate, irregular and untrained ad hoc staff in some cases, among other very serious issues.

“The APC calls on the INEC Chairman and its entire management team to cancel the Rivers State rerun elections, to enable all the pitfalls earlier enumerated to be corrected, before a fresh rerun election is held.”

The March 19 reruns were to cover three senatorial, 12 of 13 House of Representatives and 22 of 32 House of Assembly seats, totalling 37.

Prior to the stoppage of the announcement of the results by INEC’s collation officers, PDP’s candidates were declared winners of ten House of Assembly and two House of Representatives’ seats.

Rivers APC said: “The first strategy of Nyesom Wike was to deliberately saturate the atmosphere with his threat of death and violence against INEC personnel for the rerun.

“The rerun elections witnessed a well-planned spate of violence by Nyesom Wike across Rivers State. It was glaring that security was inadequate across the state. The only fairly secure areas were the LGA headquarters, where a handful of police and army personnel were deployed, but were unable to effectively cover other volatile areas/population centres of the LGAs.

“In some places like Emohua, no returning and collation officers reported for work, giving way for unknown ad hoc personnel to be recruited for a very sensitive job of results’ collation. In Gokana, Khana and Andoni LGAs, PDP thugs held electoral personnel hostage, leading to the suspension of the process.

“On election day, it became obvious that the incendiary messages of threat by Nyesom Wike had driven fear into trained ad hoc personnel (of INEC), who got scared and refused to turn up for election duties. Subsequently, INEC field officers indiscriminately engaged the services of unknown persons, with no training and background checks whatsover, to work as ad hoc personnel.”

APC also stated that Rivers PDP and Wike earlier declared that result sheets were fake, based on their belief that the result sheets were fake, but denied by INEC’s REC in Rivers state, Aniedi Ikoiwak, which led to confusion, violence and suspension everywhere, noting that quite unfortunately, the same result sheets were used by INEC to return some PDP candidates, thereby creating a huge credibility challenge for the entire exercise.

It condemned the attempt by INEC to accept and uphold results declared on the fake result sheets, while stating that results of the elections were cancelled in areas APC’s candidates were winning

Rivers APC said: “In this rerun election, we established a pattern whereby INEC cancelled or suspended results in areas where the APC was winning. We find this unacceptable, especially when resuts smuggled in by the PDP were upheld.

“Nyesom Wike, in company of heavily-armed soldiers and policemen, with armoured personnel carriers, unlawfully visited collation centres in Port Harcourt City, Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre, Emohua LGAs and other areas, where he (Wike) intimidated electoral personnel and took over the collation of results in those areas and with the connivance of the DPOs, who provided further protection for fake INEC ad hoc staff to collate and declare results. This is in complete conflict of relevant electoral laws. The result of the entire exercise became compromised, as a result of the unlawful interference by Nyesom Wike.”

“Wike’s Secretary to the State Government, Kenneth Kobani, brazingly went to a RAC with thugs, shot guns and attempted to cause confusion and violence, before he was arrested. The Rivers Governor’s Special Adviser on Special Projects, Cyril Dum Wite, was caught with armed thugs in military uniform and N40 million cash on election day at Bori-Ogoni.”

Rivers APC also expressed surprise at the decision of Wike and his Chief of Staff, Emeka Woke, to assassinate Peterside, the newly-appointed Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Asita and Ikanya, while calling for through investigation and prosecution of the arrested suspects.

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