APC faults April 11 polls in Rivers, Akwa Ibom
All Progressives Congress (APC) has called for the cancellation of the governorship and State Assembly elections in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, stressing that the elections were not conducted in accordance with INEC’s guidelines.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on its part questioned the conduct of some INEC’s officials and security agencies during the elections.
Addressing journalists in Lagos yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said because of the irregularities that characterized the polls in the two states, “We in the APC are left with no choice than to demand the immediate cancellation of the purported elections in the two states.”
Presenting details of what transpired in Rivers and Akwa Ibom on Saturday, and why the elections in the two states cannot stand, Mohammed alleged, “In Rivers, it is clear that the script for the distortion of the Rivers elections was written by the Presidency and executed by the PDP, the police and militants.”
He also complained about crass partisanship of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police in the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on the March 28th of which the party petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Suleiman Abba. Consequently, three Commissioners of Police were posted from the Force Headquarters to oversee the April 11th governorship and House of Assembly Elections in Rivers State but the decision was reversed on the directives of the President, who instead requested that AIG Tunde Ogunsakin be posted to oversee the April 11th elections in Rivers.
The APC also claimed that as soon as electoral materials were distributed, the Divisional Police Officer for Akukutoru local government area simply handed over the election materials for this local government to the militants. Upon learning of this development, AIG Ogunshakin ordered that the materials should be recovered and handed over to the Electoral Officer for the local government within the next hour.
According to Mohammed, “Irked by AIG Ogunsakin’s directive, the Presidency ordered him to leave Rivers within six hours and a pliant replacement was asked to take over from him.
“From then on, unimaginative terror was unleashed on the electorate, in particular on APC members and supporters. It was a straight fight between the police, the militants and the PDP on the one hand and the APC on the other hand.
“Contrary to the directive from INEC that Card Readers be used for the elections, the machines were discarded in Rivers. This is why the voter turnout for Rivers, as announced by INEC for Rivers, stood at more than 75%, compared with the national average of between 25 and 35 per cent.”
Based of these and other anomalies, the APC unequivocally demanded for the cancellation of the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State.
For Akwa Ibom, the party said it is in full support of the demand by its chapter in Akwa Ibom for the immediate cancellation of the governorship and House of Assembly in the state.
According to Mohammed, “Our position is based on the fact that elections in most parts of the state were not conducted according INEC guidelines, election materials were not supplied to most of the polling units in all the three senatorial districts, in former Governor Victor Attah’s ward in Ibesikpo Asutan, three contiguous polling units did not receive election materials while in the most of the polling units in Oruk Anam, which is the home local government area of Atuekong Etiebet and Chief Soni Udom, Director-General of the APC Governorship Campaign Organisation, most of the polling units did not receive election materials.”
He added that election materials were also not supplied to most polling units in Itu, Ibiono Ibom, Ikot Ekpene, Esisien Udim, Uyo, Eket, Abak, Nsit Ibom, Etinan, Esit Obolo, Ibeno, Nsit Attai, Ikono, Ini and in areas where polling materials were received, hordes of deadly armed thugs, escorted by men in police and army uniforms, stormed the polling units and carted away the election materials midway into the accreditation process.
He said, “For instance in Ndiya ward 3, unit 004 in Nsit Ubium, which happens to be the polling unit of our governorship candidate, election materials were supplied but thugs led by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, retired Capt. Iniobong Ekong, invaded the place and took away all the election materials. The thugs were later traced to the house of Capt. Ekong, where the election materials were recovered.
An inventory of the recovered materials showed that the number of the ballot papers had reduced from 1,571 to 450. The polling officer could not account for the differential. Even so, the Divisional Police Officer of Nsit Ubium later stormed the place and took away the remaining materials.
“ Meanwhile in a statement issued yesterday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh said the elections were characterized by widespread irregularities supported by certain INEC and security officials to the advantage of the APC and wondered if such officials were intimidated by APC’s blackmail and propaganda to deliver its candidates in the polls.
Metuh said evidences abound of widespread irregularities across the country with INEC rejecting results from the strongholds of PDP candidates for no just cause while accepting the figures those of the APC.
According to him, “In Lagos, Adamawa, Plateau, Benue, Kwara, Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Yobe, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi and Imo states, there are proofs of electoral manipulations ranging from underage voting, ballot stuffing and intimidation of PDP supporters to alteration of some aspects of the process in favour of APC.
“In Abia State, but for the outcry of the people and timely intervention of the INEC headquarters which rejected the illegal cancellation of results from three local governments and strongholds of the PDP by the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) even after they have been announced by the returning officers, the PDP would have been robbed of its well deserved victory in those areas.”
He continued: “As a responsible party committed to national unity and democracy, our members have remained peaceful and orderly; our candidates have been conceding defeat in the interest of peace while we elect to channel our protest to the appropriate quarters.
“The same have not been seen of the APC, which has unleashed its members to cause mayhem and harass our supporters in states where PDP candidates clearly won, such as Akwa-Ibom, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Ondo, Rivers and Gombe states.”
While the PDP urged INEC to take disciplinary actions against its erring officials, the party strongly call to question the sincerity of some of the observers especially regarding their failure to raise issues on the irregularities that characterized the voting pattern in most of the states where APC candidates have been declared winner.”
In another statement, the Lagos APC expressed appreciation to citizen of the state for speaking with their votes once again and consequently renewing its confidence and trust to the party and the leaders they have known in the past sixteen years.
In a release signed by Mr. Joe Igbokwe, the State Publicity Secretary, the Party says, “Words are not enough to express its depth of gratitude and satisfaction for the boldness and courage displayed by Lagos voters in voting for continuity in the centre of excellence.
He said in the face of harassment, intimidation and brigandage from the powers that be, APC lovers showed infectious and contagious love to the Party and its leaders they have known for years now.