In line with its earlier promise, the ¸Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that it would conclude the collation of the Rivers State governorship election between April 2 and 5, this week.
While addressing stakeholders at a meeting to discuss the resumption of electoral activities and completion of the outstanding 2019 polls in the state at the weekend, INEC’s National Commissioner supervising Bayelsa, Edo, and Rivers states, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, said the collation will be carried out transparently.
“All the results are with us in our strong room. They have not been tampered with. We are going to conduct the collation transparently.
“INEC is here to complete this process and we shall complete the process successfully,” she said.
The INEC National Commissioner said although they didn’t know the winners of the elections, all the results were intact in INEC’s custody.
“I can tell you for free that we don’t know the winners,” she said.
She said that INEC would religiously follow the timelines outlined by the commission for the governorship election collation of results.
INEC Rivers’s Head of Department (Legal), Don Umealor, outlined the supplementary regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections.
He said all INEC staff involved in the collation of results would conduct the process with transparency.
He said political parties would be given the opportunity to comment on the process, but that nobody would be allowed to disrupt the collation process.
He stated that those entitled to be at the collation centre included collation and returning officers, INEC personnel, one polling agent per party or candidate, approved security officials, properly accredited observers, properly accredited media persons, and any other person or organisation approved by INEC.
The commission announced the 17 local government areas where it had collated results for the Rivers State governorship election to include Ahoada East, Bonny, Akuku Toru, Obio/Akpor, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Omuma, Port Harcourt, Ikwerre, Emohua, Tai, Opobo-Nkoro, Andoni, Eleme, Etche, Ogu/Bolo, Oyingbo, and Okrika.
Administrative secretary of INEC, Elder Etim Umoh, stated that the local government areas where collation had not been concluded included Khana, Asari-Toru, Degema, Ahoada West, Abua/Odual, and Gokana.
Speaking at the meeting, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, blamed the Nigerian army for the violence witnessed during the collation of results.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday accused Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), of getting involved in an alleged plot to scuttle the collation of results of the Rivers State governorship election by INEC.
The party cautioned the AGF to restrain himself from being used to commit unconstitutional acts in the collation of results already scheduled to begin in the state on Tuesday.
The PDP, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had been boastfully claiming that the AGF was working on a script whereupon he would write to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to stop the collation of results.
The PDP said, “Our party urges the AGF to note that there is no provision of the 1999 constitution (as amended) or any part of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) that, in anyway, empowers the AGF to interfere or stop the process of election, until declaration of result is made.
“It is imperative for the AGF to note that Rotimi Amaechi, in his desperation, will want to rope him in and use him to cause a constitutional crisis that has the capacity to derail our democracy.
“The constitution and laws of our nation are clear on the powers and statutory functions of the attorney general and that he has no powers to interfere in the conduct of elections or direct the stoppage of an electoral process.
“The AGF should therefore distance himself from the ignoble scheme by Rotimi Amaechi to cause trouble in Rivers State by attempting to scuttle the collation of results in the Rivers governorship election, which has been clearly won by the PDP and Governor Nyesom Wike.”
“The PDP also charges INEC to save the nation a serious crisis by asserting its independence in concluding the collation process as well as respecting the will of the people, as expressed at the polls on March 9, by declaring Governor Nyesom Wike as rightful winner of the election without further delay.”