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Rivers Rerun: INEC officials runaway abandon returning officer at collation centre




Employees of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) involved in the collation of results at Rivers East senatorial district have abandoned the returning officer.

The officials, who attempted to sneak out of council hall, Port Harcourt, venue of the exercise, left one after the other.

When TheCable approached the last to walk out, he declined to speak.

Asked if the election had been declared inconclusive, he said: “I am not the one to decide that. The returning officer is still there.”

Responding to a question posed by this reporter, Oji Ekumankama, the returning officer, said he was worried by the turn of events.

“I am very disturbed at the moment,” he said.

“We just have to announce a winner. Even if everyone leaves, I will still remain here. As the returning officer, I have nowhere to go until the result is announced.

“I know that something is wrong somewhere, but this is our country; we will all do our best to develop it.”

Asked if he has communicated with appropriate authorities, he said: “They are aware.”

No sooner than the officials departed than agents of parties and journalists also made their way out.

Only the agent of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was still in the hall as of the time of filing in this report.

The collation commenced around 11pm on Saturday, and ended at 5:25am on Sunday.

The officials had announced that Ikwerre and Emouha were the only local governments of the eight in the district where results had not been declared.

They promised to make official announcement as soon as they got it.

However, around 10am, words went round that a powerful politician had hijacked the result of Ikwerre, where Nyesom Wike, governor of the state, and Rotimi Amaechi, hail from.

TheCable made efforts to reach the duo for their reactions.

While Amaechi, who spoke through David Iyiofor, his media aide, denied the report, Wike could not be reached for comments.

Olawale Adeniyi Journalist | Content Writer | Proofreader and Editor.