THE Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has kicked against the declaration of the results of last Saturday’s supplementary rerun elections in Etche by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Elections were held for Etche State Constituency seat of the House of Assembly and the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency seat, which were won by the Peoples Democratic Party.
But the state APC argued that since the Returning Officers, Prof. Olatunbosun Odusanya and Prof. Shola Omotola had declared the election inconclusive, it was wrong for INEC to have gone ahead to declare any result.
A statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Finebone, said the announcement of the incomplete results of the elections was wrong.
The statement said, “The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress recalls that yesterday’s (Saturday) supplementary rerun elections for Etche State Constituency and Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency were formally declared inconclusive by the Returning Officers, Prof. Olatunbosun Odusanya and Prof. Shola Omotola respectively at Okehi, on Saturday.
“They subsequently announced that the conclusion of the process will take place today (Sunday) or on Monday. However, we are taken aback by signals indicating that the National Electoral Commissioner in charge, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, has ordered that the incomplete results be declared despite the earlier declaration by the two Returning Officers on Saturday at Okehi that the elections were inconclusive.
“It is pertinent to remind INEC that in line with the relevant section of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), it is only the Returning Officers that are empowered to announce the results of elections and not the National Electoral Commissioner, the Resident Electoral Commissioner or any other,” the state APC stressed.
It maintained that declaring the results of elections that had earlier been announced as inconclusive would amount to a “gross” violation of INEC’s rules and demonstrate the height of inconsistency and illegality on the part of the commission.
“We urge INEC to proceed to conclude the elections without further delay before declaring the results accordingly,” the state APC added.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has advised the national leadership of the APC to forget about rigging elections in the state.
Wike explained that the people of the state would always resist the evil machinations of the APC, adding that Rivers remained a PDP State, where the people were satisfied with his development strides.
The governor spoke on Sunday at a special thanksgiving service and dedication of awards bestowed on him by the Christian Association of Nigeria, Sun Newspapers, Authority Newspapers and Independent Newspapers at the Saint Paul’s Anglican Cathedral.
Wike expressed regrets that that APC leadership had continued to fight against Rivers State to the extent of trying to stop the Sun Newspapers from bestowing on him the Governor of the Year, 2016, award by Sun Newspapers.
He said, “They should forget about this state. No matter the level of security force, they will not be able to snatch Rivers State.”
The governor, however, commended the security agencies, who covered the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency elections for being professional despite the pressure from the APC national leadership.
One of the leaders of the APC in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has accused INEC of being compromised by Governor Nyesom Wike.
Peterside also accused the governor of manhandling INEC officials and forcing them to do his bidding in an effort to prove that his “factionalised” PDP was a popular party in the state.
Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt, Peterside expressed regrets over the way INEC in the state went about announcing results of elections, which the commission had earlier declared inconclusive.
He stressed that INEC violated its own rules and guidelines, saying, “The results clearly do not reflect what transpired during the election of yesterday (Saturday), even though it added the discredited results of earlier elections of March 19 and December 10 last year.”