Amaka Agbu, Port Harcourt
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of plotting to interfere in the Rivers State governorship electoral process to favour the incumbent governor, Barr. Nyesom Wike, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Chief Eze stated this in a press statement he released in Port Harcourt on Sunday, warning that such an attempt would derail the nation’s nascent democracy.
He raised questions on some “shrouded decisions” of the INEC, as allegedly contained in a statement signed by its Director of Media, Mr. Festus Okoye, expressing the suspicion that “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 former aide to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, 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.”
He, however, lamented the fact that “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 release continued in part: “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.
“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,” Chief Eze said.