Wike Plotting To Rig Rivers Governorship Election – Parties Allege
The incumbent Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has been accused of plotting to be involve in irregularities in the Saturday, March 18 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in the state.
The controversial Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain was accused of plotting to work with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the polls on Saturday in favour of his preferred candidate.
Naija News reports that five opposition political parties in Rivers State made the allegations today during a joint press briefing in Port Harcourt.
The parties are the All Progressives Congress (APC), the National Rescue Movement (NRM), the Labour Parry (LP), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Action Alliance (AA).
Speaking during the press briefing, the candidate of the APC, Tonye Cole, warned INEC to stop all government officials from accessing the collation centres.
“We also demand INEC to restrict the movement of government officials, including the Governor and Local Government Chairmen at the collation centres, as their presence will compromise the electoral process.
“We want a peaceful, free and fair election. Only accredited party agents should have access to the collation centres.
“Foreign missions and international observers should pay special attention to the elections in Rivers State because Rivers State government in collaboration with INEC officials, have perfected plans to rig the elections on Saturday,” Cole said on behalf of his party.
He urged INEC to ensure there is the use of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) during the governorship election and also begged that the election results should be uploaded at the polling units for transparency.
“Then there should be adequate security at the Local Government collation centres on March 18,” Cole said.
On his part, the governorship candidate of NRM, Sobomabo Jackrich, lampooned INEC for allegedly conniving with Governor Wike to cause infractions even before March 18th and urged the commission to come out clean.
He said: “The information we have is that they have perfected plans to rig at the local government collation centres and INEC is in collaboration with them.
“We are not ready for the violence that is why we are calling on INEC to come out clean by directing the state governor and LGA Chairmen to stay away from collation centres.”
Earlier, the ADC governorship candidate, Tonte Ibraye, vowed to resist any form of rigging.
Meanwhile, INEC Head of Voter Education and Publicity in Rivers, Mark Usulor, who was contacted by the PUNCH, said the allegations were false and baseless.
Usulor said, “It is not true and can never be true. It is a false allegation, fake news and misinformation.
“Such allegation should be discountenanced because it is baseless and lack foundation.
“We are a transparent electoral commission even though we had some glitches in the last election. But that doesn’t mean we are colluding with any political party or government because it is not in our ethics. We are here to conduct a credible and acceptable election for the people of Rivers State.”
Parties Expressing Unfounded Propaganda
Speaking with journalists on the allegations, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Finebone, said claims about Governor Wike and INEC ahead of the March 18th election are mere propaganda by political parties.
“In the last election, the governor, after several hours, was able to vote because of the malfunctioning of the BVAS machine and thereafter, he left for his house.
“Whatever you heard about him going around trying to influence people is fake news. Nothing of such happened, and I believe you monitored the election.
“What is happening is that they are foreseeing their failure and trying to lay a foundation of a narrative that will explain their failure in the election.
“The governor does not intend and never will try to influence anybody, including INEC. All he will do on Saturday is to go cast his vote and go back home,” Finebone said.