There was a mild drama at the National Collation Centre in Abuja on Tuesday while the results for the Presidential election in River State which is being challenged by the All Progressives Congress (APC) was to be announced.
The drama started when collation officer, Professor John-Etu Efiofor, Vice Chancellor of the Petroleum Training Institute was called to announce the result.
Instead of reading from the original copy which he prepared and sent to the INEC collation centre through the internet, he claimed that he could not see it clearly and preferred to read from his prepared notes.
But INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega would have none of it as he insisted that the collation officer must read from the original document.
To help him out, they took many phones to him so as to be able to read, yet he could not do so. Even when a lamp was brought for him, he still could not read, asking to be allowed to read from his note, a request, Jega again rejected.
After about 30 minutes when there was no headway, Professor Jega asked whether he would permit somebody to read for him from the original copy, a requested he eventually granted in order to save time.
In the result which was eventually read by the coordinator of the centre, PDP pulled a huge vote of 1.4 million while APC got a mere 69,238 votes.
Already, following the crisis that greeted the election in the state, the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi had petitioned the commission. The petition had already been received by the commission which had immediately ordered investigation by despatching an investigating team to the state.
INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega said the commission decided to allow the Rivers State presidential election results because there were no substantial reasons to cancel the results and reschedule the elections.
Responding to an observation by the APC agent at the collation centre in Abuja, Jega said the three man committee submitted its report, which showed that there were irregularities, but he insisted that they were not enough to cancel the results.
Elections in Rivers State have been marred with controversy with state governor, Rotimi Amaechi accusing INEC of conniving with the ruling PDP. Election observers, both local and foreign have also corroborated the reservations raised by the governor.
The INEC boss however said after verification, it would not be ideal to cancel the whole the results.
“We have verified the claim of election malpractices in River State. From our findings, elections indeed take place in River State. Therefore, we do not believe that the allegations are substantial enough to invalidate the elections of Rivers and re-scheduling it. In view of the above, we will take the results of elections in Rivers State and the results stay”, Jega said.