Highlights

Can Wike Do It Again.

imageDuring the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections, Wike as the Rivers PDP flag bearer delivered almost 1.5 million votes for Jonathan, the highest number of votes given to Jonathan by any state. Obviously, Wike wanted to equal the 1.8 million votes which Amaechi had delivered for Jonathan in 2011. As if that was not enough,  the PDP proceeded to grab all the national assembly seats in the state in the worst orgy of electoral rigging ever witnessed in Rivers State and involving soldiers, policemen, thugs and Inec officials, nothing short of a tsunami; nothing short of presidency connections, a bus-load of cash, super planning and ruthlessness could achieve such an unscrupulous electoral feat.

That morning in Kpite Town, Tai Ward 2 and other areas of the state, five people were shot dead, allegedly by PDP’s armed militia. Chidiebere Okwuwolu, a former Commissioner and an APC leader was arrested by the police and taken to Olu Obasanjo Police Station in Port Harcourt. Ninety nine other APC members were also detained at various Police Stations all over the State.

At Ubima, the home town of Governor Chibuike Amaechi, the INEC result sheets were allegedly put in the possession of Chief Nyesom Wike, the gubernatorial candidate of PDP in Rivers State. Governor Amaechi had as a result refused to be accredited. At Andoni, the Local Government Area of Rivers State APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, Chief Uche Secondus the National Vice Chairman of PDP and his cousin, Engr Tele Ikuru (the Deputy Governor of Rivers State who, a few days earlier, had defected to PDP) all hell was let loose; electoral materials were allegedly hijacked by PDP agents in connivance with soldiers who threatened to arrest and shoot any APC chieftains in sight. The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Andoni Local Government area, Esuku Esuku, was ordered out of Ngo, headquarters of the Local Government, by Joint Task Force personnel.

At Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area electoral materials were allegedly distributed from the house of Minister of Sports, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, instead of the INEC office. Danagogo allegedly held hostage the policemen deployed to escort these electoral materials to the polling units. The DPO of Abonnema Joseph Kayode who dared to follow the movement of the electoral materials was attacked and injured. He was in the company of Hon Isobo Jack the Commissioner for Urban Development. PDP thugs also hijacked materials and took away INEC personnel deployed to Akuku-Toru Wards 15, 16 and 17. The hijacked materials and men were taken to Freetown, a hinterland coastal community. In Tombia, Degema LGA, PDP had by the previous night filled the community with militants who set about attacking APC members and preventing those returning home to vote from entering the town. They did so in the presence of soldiers.  Over 30 agents were arrested that day. In Buguma,Asari-Toru Local Government Area, policemen were busy arresting APC chieftains. In Gokana Local Government Area, trained INEC ad-hoc personnel were replaced with untrained persons suspected to be PDP members. This was allegedly done in connivance with the LGA Electoral Officer (EO).

•At Opobo/Nkoro, the Local Government Area of Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, the gubernatorial candidate of APC, the house of Opobo/Nkoro Caretaker Committee Chairman Loveday Jaja, was torched after he escaped being lynched by PDP hoodlums. Electoral materials meant for the Local Government Area were then diverted to John Africa/Ada Tom Pepple Compound area where they were thumb-printed in favour of PDP. A lawyer J.B Pepple was caught with stained thumbs and he admitted to have been thumb-printing ballot papers. Another person Alafagha Oko-Jaja had his head broken. Soldiers also went around the community harassing people while Chiefs in Kalaibiama, a neighboring island compelled people to vote for President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP. Harold Peterside a PDP Agent in Unit 006 Ward, Opobo/Nkoro was caught with an INEC Register and fake result sheet at the polling unit. At Oyigbo LGA, 40,000 incident forms were given out at 6:30 a.m.  It was stopped when the APC Agent complained about it. He was subsequently asked to leave the INEC office at about 11:30 a.m.

In Okrika INEC ad-hoc staff tried to persuade voters to do manual accreditation, claiming that card readers assigned to Okrika LGA polling booths were not working (even without trying them). In a few units where APC supporters resisted, the card readers mysteriously began to work. But in a majority of the units manual accreditation was done. INEC also delivered incident forms far in excess of the number of registered voters. PDP stalwarts were openly parading bundles of PVC cards in their possession. The well known Rowland Sekibo, allegedly accompanied by policemen and PDP thugs armed with guns, went around chasing away APC members from doing accreditation. They did so in wards 1, 7, 8, 9 and 2. They tore the tags of APC agents, beat them up and chased them away, injuring scores of them. It was a desperate situation for Amaechi and the Rivers APC. Its governorship candidate Dakuku Peterside could not be expected to survive such a grim army-police and militant combined, Aso Rock empowered assault. The only hope the Rivers APC clung to by the end of March 28 was the hope of a Buhari victory. This came three days later. It would be alleged that Wike was devastated when Jonathan conceded victory to Buhari.

Buhari’s victory has been nothing short of a restoration for the Rivers APC. It is rumored on the streets that the state police commissioner who had for some time had a cold relationship with Governor Amaechi has since paid him a visit in Government house Port Harcourt to offer congratulations. The police armored carrier permanently positioned besides Wike’s billion naira GRA mansion has been unceremoniously withdrawn and even more remarkably, it is now claimed that the Police commissioner has refused to take his call. Has Wike been degraded? Has he lost the security forces? Has he lost the capacity to repeat such an electoral tsunami? It does seem as if the power of incumbency has returned to whom it rightly belongs.

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