Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has raised the alarm over an alleged plot by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to release some of the results in the eight local government areas it earlier cancelled in the March 19 legislative re-run elections in the state.
This is as the governor warned of imminent crisis if INEC dared to cancel results of Ikwerre Local Government, home of former Governor Chibuike Amaechi, he said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates won.
In a swift reaction, the electoral umpire said Wike’s allegations were not true and that it has no plan to declare results in places where the electoral processes were inconclusive.
In an exclusive interview with THISDAY in Port Harcourt yesterday, Wike said he had information that INEC was planning to release some of the results in the eight local government areas where the commission suspended elections.
He said: “We are now hearing that INEC wants to release some of the results of the election they cancelled in some of the eight local governments, obviously to help the APC. Don’t forget the election was cancelled around 2pm before the election process was even concluded on the 19th, the very day of the election.
“How can they have results for a process that was ongoing when it was cancelled by the same INEC? Where did the result surface from? Their claim now is that some of the results in the eight local governments they cancelled were already collated and I ask how was it possible when it was cancelled when voting was still going on by 2pm? This is fraud on the part of INEC.
INEC is trying to help the APC by manipulating the result. The APC lost badly in Rivers so they want to help Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi to save his face.”
He accused INEC of trying to subvert the will of the people as expressed by the voters in the re-run elections.
“As I said before, INEC has not showed any sign that they are impartial. They have not shown signs of that. Notwithstanding, we have raised complaints and they have seen that our complaints are genuine. So why are they running away from it. Why?”
He alleged that INEC was using the cover of the suspended election to perfect plans to rig elections in the eight local government areas in favour of the APC.
He accused the INEC of causing crisis in the state and warned of dire consequences if the commission continued to favour any political party.
Wike said: “I foresee a situation where all they are doing now is to perfect a system where they will now want to rig us out. Just like I said, that will also be highly resisted. So, no one will say that there is crisis in Rivers State.
“INEC should not be causing crisis in Rivers State, INEC should allow the people’s will to prevail. I will not fold my arms and allow INEC to perfect that strategy they want to use and rig in those eight local government areas.
Rivers State will still resist it. If I die in the cause of Rivers state, no big deal about that.
“If I die for it, it is a sacrifice I can make for Rivers State as Rivers State cannot be cheated any longer. Allow the people’s will; allow their mandate to stand.
Don’t try to satisfy an individual whom you think might have contributed so much amount of money to a political party.
The people will decide where their votes will be and so we will resist it with all it takes.”
Wike also accused INEC of deliberately refusing to release the result of elections in Ikwerre state constituency and Ikwerre/Emohua federal constituency because the APC lost in Amaechi’s home constituencies.
He said: “Yes, he (Amaechi) lost in Ikwerre Local government and that is why they are playing games; INEC is trying to play games, particularly one national commissioner, Amina Zakari. She is the brain behind all these problems you see in Rivers State.
She has been tele-guiding and manipulating. In fact, I can tell that one of the monitors wrote condemning the attitude of Amaechi during that election.
Amina scolded the supervisor for writing a report against Amaechi. We intercepted all those information. Indeed, most of the result swapping that INEC tried to do in Rivers State emanated from Amina Zakari.”
The governor said the people would resist any attempt by the commission to cancel the results as they had already been collated at the centres.
“So, not releasing Ikwerre is a bone on their neck. But I dare them.
Let them try to say they are cancelling Ikwerre Local Government. You cannot cancel what has been collated from the unit to the ward.
You cannot do that. That result must be released. If they don’t want crisis, that result must be released. We will not fold out hands. It doesn’t matter. No threat will make us to forgo that.
We trounced Amaechi in his local government. He failed. And let be said he failed. Let the whole world know that he failed. What are you protecting him for? You should protect the votes of the people and not a single individual,” Wike said.
He said the INEC was sympathising with the former governor and was shielding him from embarrassment.
“Go and check the results that have been collated. He failed. He also lost at the federal constituency level. He won’t get senate, he won’t get the federal constituency and he won’t get the state assembly. So, it is making them; let’s protect this man; it’s too embarrassing that they say he can’t even get state house of assembly.
“That is our position. INEC should release Ikwerre local government result. In fact, they must. They have no choice. Whatever they have eaten, they should send it back. Whatever they have taken from him, they should give him back,” he said.
We Do Not Crown Winners of Election, Says INEC…
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said that contrary to insinuations by some persons, the commission “does not interfere with the decisions of the electorate but only declares those who won election fair and square.”
Speaking to THISDAY in a telephone interview, the INEC Deputy Director on Media and Publicity, Mr. Nick Dazang said as far as the Rivers state re-run election is concerned; only those elections that have been concluded were returned and declared.
“INEC does not crown winners of elections as alleged. It declares those who have won fairly and squarely through transparent processes winners,” he said.
On whether the commission was about to release results from areas where elections were cancelled in Rivers state, Dazang said INEC does not intend to declare results in places where the electoral processes were inconclusive.
“As at the time elections were suspended in Rivers state, not all were concluded, consequently only those that have been concluded have been returned and declared. The outstanding ones will be conducted at a date to be scheduled by the commission,” he added.
Withholding collated results, threat to democracy, says PDP…
In a related development, the South-South zonal leadership of the PDP has urged INEC to, as a matter of urgent national important, release the remaining results of the recently concluded re-run election in Rivers State, stressing that it would greatly serve the interest of the nation’s democracy and peace.
In a statement by the South-South chairman of the PDP, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, the party strongly criticized the activities of INEC particularly in the conduct of Rivers State election.
In Rivers re-run elections, 22 out of 32 state constituencies were contested; 12 out of 13 federal constituencies and 3 senatorial districts.
INEC has so far released results of 11 state constituencies and four federal constituencies.
Outside the 8 local government areas where INEC suspended elections, INEC has not released results in 3 federal constituencies, namely Bonny /Degeq00ma, Okrika /Ogu /Bolo, and Emohua /Ikwerre.
Outstanding federal constituencies in the 8 suspended local government areas are Asaritoru /Akukutoru, Etche /Omuma, Tai/Eleme /Oyigbo, Khana/Gokana, and Opobo /Nkoro/Andoni.
In the suspended areas, the outstanding state constituencies are 9, namely Assritoru 1 and 2, Etche, Tai, Eleme, Gokana, Khana 1 and 2, and Bonny.
Outstanding state constituencies outside the suspended LGAs 2, namely Bonny and Ikwerre