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Winners emerge in Rivers bloody re-run elections

By Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt), Muyiwa Adeyemi (Ekiti) and Seye Olumide (Lagos)
12 December 2016   |   4:26 am
Amid reports of violence and skirmishes in parts of the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday won the Rivers South East Senatorial District.


• Credible polls dead under APC, says Fayose
• Police officer, orderly beheaded, Army claims

Amid reports of violence and skirmishes in parts of the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday won the Rivers South East Senatorial District. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) maintained leads in Rivers East and Rivers West.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the APC, Senator Magnus Abe, duly elected to represent the Rivers South East District at the Senate. Results of the remaining two senatorial districts, where the PDP was said to be leading, were not ready at press time.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had in December 2015 ordered reruns for 22 State House of Assembly, 12 House of Representatives and three senatorial seats. INEC’s attempts to conduct the polls on March 19, 2016 were disrupted by widespread violence that forced the commission to suspend elections in some areas.

An attempt to conclude the controversial elections by July 30 was again thwarted as INEC was forced to suspend the rerun indefinitely due to what it said was an arson attack on its office in Bori, Khana Local Government Area. The commission eventually fixed the re-run for December 10 after the Senate gave an ultimatum to that effect.

INEC’s officer, Prof. Gideon Onukwuisi, while announcing results at the collation centre in Bori, explained that, of the 154, 703 cast votes, 152,706 were valid, while 2,627 were rejected. Abe was said to have polled 125, 938 votes to defeat his PDP rival, Olaka Nwogu, who polled 25,394.

The APC candidate for Khana 2 Constituency, Mr. Friday Nkeeh, was declared winner of the House of Assembly election having scored 15,000 votes to beat his PDP, rival, Dinebari Loolo, who scored 4,000. Similarly, Dr. Innocent Barikor, APC, was declared winner of the Gokana State Constituency having polled 24,624 votes.

APC candidates, Barry Mpigi and Maurice Pronen, were declared winners of Tai/Oyigbo/Eleme and Gokana/ Khana Federal constituencies respectively.

Mpigi scored 48,760 votes while Pronen had 68,219 votes.

PDP candidate for Bonny State Constituency, Abiye Pepple, scored 6,610 to defeat APC’s, Henry Halliday, who scored 2330.

Results so far released in six of the eight local councils of Rivers East Senatorial District showed that PDP was leading with 77,691 to the APC’s 27,754.

Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, described the conduct of Saturday’s re-run national and state House of Assembly elections as a sad reminder of the level of destruction already done to the country’s electoral process by the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Free, fair and credible election is dead in the country and whatever victory recorded by any political party in the Rivers State election will be nothing but victory at gun-point.”

The governor lamented that it was worrisome that the legacy of free, fair and credible election left by the PDP has been destroyed less than two years after the APC assumed power.

Fayose reiterated his call to the United States President-elect, Mr. Donald Trump, to pay more attention to Nigeria and save it from disintegration.

“God forbid, if Nigeria disintegrates, the entire continent of Africa will disintegrate,’’ he stated.

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike called on INEC to declare the outcome of Rivers East Senatorial District and Rivers West Senatorial District, which he believes PDP candidates clearly won based on results from polling units.

Wike also called on INEC to immediately release the results of Andoni /Opobo-Nkoro Federal Constituency and Andoni State Constituency which he claimed were also won by the PDP.

According to him, the outcome of Rivers East has been held down by a plot of INEC, the Army and the Police to manipulate the results of Emohua and Ikwerre Local Council Areas in favour of the APC.

But the Lagos State spokesman of APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, urged Nigerians not to take Fayose seriously, saying: “This is the first time since 1999 that free, fair and credible elections would take place in Rivers.

“What the government did was to identify those who used to foment trouble during elections, caged them for free atmosphere to take place.”

Yesterday, the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army announced that a deputy superintendent of Police, Alkali Mohammed, of the Mobile Police Unit 48 was beheaded along with his orderly at Ogba/Egbema/ Ndoni Local Council during Saturday’s elections.

The General Officer Commanding the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Kasimu Abdulkarim, said: “The patrol vehicle was taken away with weapons, three policemen escaped while five were missing in action. This is the same area where soldiers of 34 Brigade were ambushed on November 20, 2016 when a soldier was killed.

“Also on November 21, 2016, four personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were killed and their weapons carted away. These attacks are reasonable evidence of violations of breach of law and order, which portray the area as a flashpoint.

“Despite these barbarism, soldiers acted with civility and professionally guaranteeing peaceful election.”

He said the alleged killing and mass arrest by soldiers in Tai, Ogoni, Gokhna-Ogoni local councils were false. He stated that it was true that soldiers of 6 Division Nigerian Army provided security during the Rivers State Legislative Re-run election, but the allegations made by some respected politicians regarding deep involvement of soldiers during the elections were aimed at tarnishing the positive image of the Army.

“Several shooting were recorded in some communities such as Bodo, the home town of the secretary to the State Government, B-dere and Mogho in Gokhana LGA, including snatching of ballot boxes,” he said.

“He explained that Nigerian Army troops were in no way involved in any form of ballot box snatching, neither were they involved in the escort of politicians as alleged. According to him, the army acted swiftly in response to security breaches in order to enforce the law, provide aid to the Nigeria Police and other security agencies especially in areas like Abonema, Etche, Gokhana, Ikwere, Eleme, Tai, Khana and Omoku, among others.