UK, US Unhappy Over Irregularities, Violence | Independent Newspapers Limited
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UK, US Unhappy Over Irregularities, Violence

Posted: Mar 23, 2016 at 7:22 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Daniel Abia, Port Harcourt

Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted the call by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, for the cancellation of the entire rerun.

Rivers PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah, said the Electoral Act clearly spelt out conditions for cancellation of results, and argued that all the results in the election won by candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party substantially complied with all the provisions of both the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act.

Having strictly complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act and results declared, as stipulated by law, it cannot therefore be cancelled by INEC, he said.

According to him, the APC leadership or anybody calling for cancellation “is ignorant of the law and such call amounts to an invitation to anarchy in the State.”

Ikanya noted that it is only ignorant and desperate politicians who are plotting to destabilize the State.

The State PDP Chairman recalled that a week to the election, Amaechi threatened to flood the State with the military and that he did, “thereby arrogating to himself the power of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.”

Amaechi, who promised that the election would be the freest and most peaceful, also effected the transfer of the former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, and all staff, and openly declared same, boasting that he had the Army, Police, Airforce, DSS, etc in his pocket.

Obuah said: “It is on record that Amaechi, Dakuku Peterside, Magnus Abe, Barry Mpigi, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, Ibim Semenitari, Felix Nwaeke moved around on election day with soldiers and used them to harass and intimidate the voters and PDP members, while at most places APC members where pointing and identifying PDP members to the Nigerian soldiers to beat, arrest and harass.

“The question that begs for answer is, why will the Nigerian Army be loyal to Amaechi, Abe, Ikanya, Dakuku, Felix Nwaeke, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, Barry Mpigi and all APC Chieftains and members?

“We would expect therefore that Ikanya should be truthful by explaining the content of the vehicle in which he, Dakuku and Asita were travelling at the period when they were not expected to be moving about during the restriction of movement, even as they are not from same electoral ward or senatorial district.”

PDP accused Ikanya of deliberately twisting and misrepresenting facts in the circumstances leading to the cancellation of elections in the affected LGAs, particularly Gokana, Khana, Tai, Andoni and Eleme, when it was evident that the APC, in connivance with Nigerian soldiers and INEC officials, brought in fake result sheets and ballot papers to those areas.

“It was on discovery of the fake election materials that the PDP leaders and supporters protested and threatened to boycott the exercise, leading to the condemnable arrest, assault and detention of the PDP leaders and members in those LGAs by the APC controlled soldiers and security agencies.

“The PDP calls on Mr. Ikanya to truly explain to the public the circumstances that resulted to the killing of a woman, Baby Nzuugah, mother of four children, in Kpite, Tai, by soldiers escorting diverted election materials meant for the LGA to Mr. Barry Mpigi’s house in Koroma.

“Mr. Ikanya should also tell the truth on who abducted the Ward 10 INEC Collation Officer, Mrs. Ekwi Adebisa, as evidence abound that Rotimi Amaechi and other APC chieftains abducted the woman and forced her to falsify election results for the area,” Obuah said in the statement.

The PDP urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the general public to ignore Mr. Ikanya and APC’s call for outright cancellation, as it is clear that the failure of the APC to successfully hijack and manipulate the process and results informed the party’s latest retrogressive decision.

Reacting to the development, the United Kingdom (UK), on Tuesday, disclosed that its observers in the re-run observed irregularities around the voting.

In a statement made available by the Press and Public Affairs Officer of the British High Commission in Nigeria, Joe Abuku, the UK also expressed disappointment over reports of violence that characterised the polls.

“The British High Commission in Nigeria is disappointed by reports of violence, in particular against electoral officials (INEC), around the elections in Rivers state on 19 March 2016.

“UK observers in Rivers State saw irregularities around the voting and noted the low turn-out of voters at polling units which was in part a consequence of fear of violence,” it said.

It, however, urged the leadership of major political parties to encourage their supporters in Rivers to behave peacefully, while calling on those still dissatisfied to pursue resolution of their grievances through the courts in accordance with the rule of law.

Similarly, the United States (US) condemned reports of violence that surrounded the conduct of the polls.

The statement was made available by the US Embassy in Abuja.

“The US Embassy is concerned about reports of violence, including the possible targeting of electoral officials, and irregularities during re-run elections in Rivers State on March 19, 2016. We condemn the use of violence and disruptions of the democratic process.

“We call upon the leadership of Nigeria’s political parties to urge their supporters to conduct themselves peacefully throughout the electoral process. We call on those dissatisfied to pursue a resolution of their grievances peacefully in accordance with the rule of law,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State, has confirmed the death of one of its adhoc staff in the Saturday March 19 House of Assembly and National Assembly rerun.

Making this known in Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Tuesday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hon Aniedi Ikoiwak, said one of the Commission’s officers was discovered but a corps member lost his life.

He pleaded with the electorate for patience and denied the PDP’s remark that it used fake voting and other sensitive materials in the elections.

“Nobody has so far come to challenge us on the use of fake materials. We did not and do not use fake, anybody who cares can come and challenge us with an evidence

Of the results, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, won nine seats including the only one FHR seat and nine State Assembly seats, while the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, trails behind with a seat.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday at the commission’s office, the Resident Electoral Officer, REC, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, disclosed the body had so far suspended action on the process, to enable it audit the situation and staff.

“We want to use the opportunity to access the situation, safety of our staff and materials. We should go beyond the elections and consider the lives of our staff, some of who were affected negatively.”