APC, PDP disagree over conduct of polls in Rivers, protest in Imo against non-release of results
THE All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters in Rivers State yesterday barricaded the gate of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to demand outright cancellation and rescheduling of the presidential and National Assembly elections.
Also, hundreds of APC members also yesterday staged a demonstration in Owerri, Imo State capital, over alleged inability of the electoral body to release the outcome of Saturday’s elections.
The youths, who sang various solidarity songs deploring the attitude of the commission, marched from the conference centre where Governor Rochas Okorocha had called a meeting of Who is Who in Imo State APC to INEC office on Port Harcourt Road but could not gain entry into the commission’s office as a result of presence of armed security men.
Besides, unknown arsonists have torched the office of INEC in Emohua Local Council of the state. The motive for the attack could not be ascertained as at press time.
In another development, irate youths from Anguwan Rogo and Zinaria communities in Jos North Local Council of Plateau State yesterday attacked a private radio station, Unity FM and journalists from both electronic and print media.
The youths were after a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member and the party’s governorship campaign co-ordinator for Jos North, Muhammed Adam (alias Dan London), after he had allegedly tagged a religious scholar and youths who had stoned him the previous day as Boko Haram members during a live chat with journalists on Unity FM.
Adam had made the inciting remark before he rushed out of the station accompanied by security operatives.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has kicked against demand by the APC for the cancellation of the election, saying the conduct was credible and the result reflects the overwhelming acceptability of President Goodluck Jonathan and candidates of the party by the electorate in the state.
The state Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Felix Obuah, who made the assertion yesterday in a statement in Port Harcourt, said: “Rivers State is a traditional PDP state and even if the elections are conducted million times, the PDP will win here. Was the APC expecting Rivers people to vote for another presidential candidate other than President Goodluck Jonathan? That must be a wishful thinking.”
He, therefore, condemned in strong terms the alleged resort to violence and falsehood by members of the APC and vehemently denied allegations of violence levelled against members of the PDP.
The APC protesters led by the party’s governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside and Senator Magnus Abe, claimed that the elections held in Rivers State were characterised by deliberate non-release of result sheets to nearly all the centres as well as active collaboration and collusion of INEC ad-hoc members of staff with the PDP in undermining the credibility of the election.
The party also said that incidents were deliberately orchestrated to scare away voters and the deployment and alleged use of police to arrest its key and notable faithful even during the election with the sole aim of infusing fear and intimidation, all in a bid to pave way for the PDP to operate within the political space unchallenged.
Besides, in a petition to the National Chairman of INEC, which was made available to The Guardian, the APC chairman, Davis Ikanya, alleged that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Gesila Khan, connived with the PDP to disenfranchise the electorate in Rivers State.
The angry protestors, who chanted songs and displayed placards demanding for the cancellation of the elections, insisted that, in substance, there was no election in Rivers State.
However, irate youths, who had gathered before journalists could leave the building, threw stones at the media men demanding that they handover Adam and also threatened to burn the building.
They damaged five cars including a Daily Trust correspondent’s vehicle and also injured a youth leader from Zinaria community who tried to calm them.
The youths also burnt the politician’s family home and his brother’s house in Anguwan Rogo after his family had been evacuated.
An eyewitness said that one person was killed when the Special Task Force (STF) stormed the area to disperse the youths.
It was reported that Adam had been stoned out of his Anguwan Rogo polling unit on Saturday when he tried to vote before the end of accreditation.
He had called a press conference to explain the nature of the attack when he described a religious scholar from Anguwan Rogo as a member of the Boko Haram sect who he claimed instigated the youths to the attack.
Governor Jonah Jang, who was informed that members of the PDP were being attacked by APC members in Angwan Rogo, rushed to the venue but was later briefed by the STF Commander, Maj.-Gen. David Enetie, that the crisis had no political undertone and consequently, the governor returned to the Government House.