The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State during the 2015 election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state of being compromised by Governor Nyesom Wike during Saturday’s legislative rerun in Etche and Omuma local government areas.
He said the Rivers governor manhandled INEC officials and forced them to do his bidding, in an effort to prove that his factionalised Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was a popular party in the Niger Delta state.
Peterside yesterday in an interview with reporters in Port Harcourt regreted the way the electoral commission went about announcing results from elections, which INEC earlier declared inconclusive.
He declared that the electoral commission violated its rules and guidelines, leading to the declaration of PDP’s candidates: Chief Jerome Eke and Mr. Tony Ejiogu as winner of the House of Representatives’ Etche/Omuma federal constituency and Etche constituency 2 in the Rivers House of Assembly seats respectively.
The APC chieftain said: “The results clearly do not reflect what transpired during the elections of yesterday ( Saturday), even though they added to the discredited results of earlier elections of March 19 and December 10 last year.
“Wike arrived INEC office at about 12:35 a.m. on Sunday and attempted to force the returning officer to announce results which the official had earlier declared inconclusive, as elections did not take place in majority of the polling booths. The returning officer insisted that announcing results the way they were would amount to discrediting substantial number of voters, who were denied opportunity to vote by thugs and hoodlums.”
Peterside, who is also the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), also expressed surprise on how INEC allow itself to be compromised by the Rivers governor, who he said had a long history of bribing electoral officials.
He said: “Only recently, INEC officials who served in the state during last December 10 rerun elections were indicted by police for receiving several millions of naira to influence results.
“Wike was seen with INEC officials computing results of the election. How did the governor get there? Is the governor a returning officer? Is he an INEC official or a security agent?
“How could Wike be standing with INEC officials, where results were being computed? Under which law is a governor permitted to be present where results were being computed for legislative elections in a local government that is clearly not his? I am sure Rivers people are watching this.”