By Akanimo Sampson
Three strong political groups in Rivers State: Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC), Coalition of Political Parties (CUPP) and Coalition of Governorship Candidates have risen in support of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), claiming that by the evidence before them, the party won the governorship poll.
Their argument is that since the state Constituency Collation Officers have declared 23 PDP candidates as duly elected for their respective constituencies for the state Assembly poll which ran simultaneously with that of the Governorship, Governor Nyesom Wike won his re0election bid.
They are therefore, calling on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) , Professor Mahmood Yakubu to disregard backstage calls by ‘’a few renegade All Progressives Congress (APC) sponsored governorship candidates for the transfer of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner and the Administrative Secretary of INEC.
The three groups which said on Monday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, that they represent 86 political parties and 54 governorship candidates, are insisting that there is no justification for the calls for the transfer of the electoral umpires.
IPAC Chairman, Sir Precious Baridoo, who presented their position said, ‘’these calls sponsored by the Minister of Transportation and the APC are aimed at creating the ugly atmosphere for the concoction of results and the rigging of the Rivers State Governorship election, which has been won by the PDP governorship candidate, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
‘’We also strongly condemn the criminal use of the Nigerian Army by the APC to abduct electoral officers and snatch already collated results for the purpose of rigging the Governorship election in favour of the APC supported candidate.
‘’It is most unfortunate that the APC led soldiers of the Nigerian Army to invade the state Collation Centre at INEC headquarters in Port Harcourt as captured on videos aired on ChannelsTelevision and AIT. The whole world saw how they planned to bring in cooked results to alter the will of Rivers people. “
They berated the military for allegedly disrupting the governorship collation process in Rivers, adding, ‘’we also condemn the military for disrupting the collation process for the governorship election in Rivers.
‘’We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate steps to punish all the military personnel involved in this coup against democracy. Our position is strengthened by the fact that the Chief of Army Staff has denied ordering the criminal activities of the Nigerian Army at the Rivers State Governorship Collation Centre at INEC headquarters
‘’The mischievous call by these sponsored Governorship Candidates is diversionary and aimed disrupting the Collation process and the lawful declaration of Governor Wike as duly re-elected. We commend Governor Wike for his peaceful and calm disposition, despite the provocative actions of the APC and the military in the face of the fact that Rivers people overwhelmingly voted for him.
‘’We urge INEC to immediately re-start the process of collating the Governorship Election results based on official results declared at all polling units where elections were successfully conducted . This Collation should be based on official INEC staff and adhoc personnel detailed to conduct the elections .
“We, therefore, congratulate Governor Wike on his re-election as the governor of Rivers. We congratulate him based on results from across the state as made available to us by our agents who participated in the elections at different levels.”