The governorship candidate of African Action Congress ( AAC ) in Rivers State, Biokpomabo Awara, has declared he won in over 15 of the 23 local government areas.
He insisted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must declare him the governor-elect.
He also accused Governor Nyesom Wike, the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), of buying a house in Maitama, Abuja for the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in the state, Mr. Obo Effanga as well as inducing Rivers Administrative Secretary of INEC Elder Etim John with N300 million.
The AAC’s governorship candidate stated these during a news conference Monday in Port Harcourt, while stressing that Wike, a former Minister of State for Education, did not behave as a governor, during the March 9 governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers.
He said: “I make the following demands: That the results already declared at the local government collation centres be accepted. That INEC should declare me the winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Rivers State.
“The REC of INEC in Rivers State, Mr. Obo Effanga, be immediately redeployed for gross incompetence. The REC has not been able to conclude any election in Rivers State, since his assumption of office. The Port Harcourt Constituency 3 by-election of Rivers State House of Assembly in August 2018 is a case in point.
“The suspension of the March 9 elections by INEC was done to give respite to the governorship candidate of PDP (Wike), who was trailing behind me, to frustrate my victory. My party went into these elections against an umpire dangerously skewed in favour of the PDP.”
Awara also stated that with the collated results of the elections, he was in clear lead and was coasting to victory, before the suspension by INEC in Abuja.
He said: “INEC pleaded insecurity, violence and seizure of electoral materials by hoodlums etc., as the reasons for suspending the remaining stages of the election. I reject the reasons given by INEC.
“This is because in the LGAs that were affected, voting had been concluded, results declared at the polling units and collation had begun, before the abrupt suspension of the process.
“The commission does not have the power under our Electoral Act to suspend elections that have already been concluded.
“The REC, all the Electoral Officers, Assistant Electoral Officers, Heads of Departments in the Rivers offices of INEC are all working for the candidate of PDP (Wike).
“No wonder when they saw that I was leading and would eventually win the election, they raised a false alarm to the headquarters of the commission and misinformed them that there was widespread violence and seizure of electoral materials.
“Every Local Government Council Chairman in Rivers State pays the sum of N1 million monthly to the Electoral Officer assigned to his Local Government and other sums of money to other electoral personnel.
“The Administrative Secretary of the Rivers State office of INEC, Elder Etim John, was paid N300 million by Wike, as inducement to secure 100 per cent posting of the ad hoc staff list in favour of the PDP.
“To justify the financial inducement by Wike, the Administrative Secretary did not only ensure that the posting of the ad hoc staff overtly favoured the PDP, but he also got carried away to the extent that he even included the names of well-known relatives of some PDP candidates and chieftains in the list.
“The REC of INEC in Rivers State, on the eve of the elections, replaced most of the ad hoc workers that were already published on the commission’s notice boards, with the names of card-carrying members of the PDP.”
He also condemned Rivers governor’s invasion with over 200 thugs allegedly wielding AK-47 assault rifles and other dangerous weapons, in the night of March 9, of his Obio/Akpor LGA’s collation centre at the secretariat of the council in Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt.
Awara noted that during Wike’s invasion of the collation centre, two soldiers on guard duty were shot, in critical condition and still receiving treatment in hospitals in Port Harcourt, with the result sheets forcibly taken from the ad hoc staff of INEC and moved to Government House, Port Harcourt, where they were altered.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, who doubles as the Director of Information and Communications of the PDP’s Campaign Council in the state, was contacted through the telephone at 4:42 p.m., but he had not reacted as at press time.