We Insisted On Credible Polls In Rivers-INEC
Rivers Resident Electoral Commissioner, Obo Effanga said despite pressures and attacks the Independent National Electoral Commission conducted credible elections in the state in line with extant laws.
Effanga was speaking during the presentation of Certificate of Return to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo and elected members of Rivers State House Of Assembly at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
He said: “For us in INEC Rivers State, we stayed focused on conducting a transparent, free , fair and credible election. As I kept promising, on behalf of my team, we were bound by the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act, other laws and guidelines for the elections.
“The Present INEC by its conduct, helped to break away from the negative narrative of violence tainted victories or elections and results that have limited input and participation of the voters. We can say and confidently too, that many voters in the State had access to polling units and indeed exercised their rights to vote in peace in this election than in previous elections “.
The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Rivers, Bayelsa and Edo States, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu presented the Certificate of Return to the Governor.
Speaking, Governor Wike dedicated the Certificate of Return to the good people of Rivers State who overwhelmingly voted for him and dedicated the victory to Rivers people killed by the Nigerian Army. He said that their sacrifices will never be forgotten.
He said: “Today, I dedicate this victory to the people of Rivers State. I also dedicate this victory to those killed by the Nigerian Army in defence of votes and democracy. But for their sacrifice, we would not be here.” He berated the Nigerian Army for the negative roles they played during the 2019 General Elections in Rivers State. “The duty of the Army is not to take over INEC office and carry out Collation. We saw the Army take over INEC functions and that of the police. Go to Bori camp, you will see INEC materials . Is it where it is supposed to be. But for God, we wouldn’t have been here .All powers came, but God intervened and that’s why we are here”,
The Governor commended the Police and DSS for living up to their responsibilities during the 2019 General elections. He, however, urged INEC to take steps to investigate why Rivers State is only violent during elections. He advised the Commission to work towards the prosecution of the F-SARS Commander indicted for violence during the 2016 Rerun Elections.
. Governor Wike commended INEC for their steadfast commitment to the logical conclusion of Rivers elections, despite the pressure for them to do otherwise. He said: “I commend INEC for standing firm on the side of the truth. I commend INEC officials for being firm.”
He urged INEC Headquarters to take immediate measures to ensure the total rehabilitation of the INEC Rivers office. The Governor said that as a matter of State Policy, the Rivers State Government will take steps to assist families of those who were victims of election violence adding that should INEC and the Army permit, Rivers State Government will also reach to their staff affected by the violence.
Governor Wike said that his second term will witness more projects for the development of Rivers State. He urged his opponents to take advantage of his olive branch, saying that it was extended in the interest of Rivers State.
National Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu thanked Rivers people for their contributions to the successful conduct of the 2019 General Elections in Rivers State.
Represented by the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Rivers, Bayelsa and Edo States, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, the INEC boss prayed that going forward, steps must be taken to change the narrative of elections in the state.
As the people of Rivers State celebrate the re-election of Governor Nyesomn Wike in the recently-concluded election in the State, stakeholders and political leaders, have been speaking on their expectation in his second tenure.
Chairman, Ahoada West Local Government Areas, Hon. Hope Ikiriko, while commending the resilience of the people in ensuring the victory of the Governor and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, said he expects Governor Wike to consolidate on the provision of social infrastructure in the state and Ahoada West in particular. Ikiriko said the joyous mood of the people stems from fact that the hard-won victory of the party came despite the intimidation and violence unleashed on the people by agents of the federal government.
His Ahoada East counterpart, Hon. Ben Eke said the people of the area rejoice with the Governor and all elected legislators of the state Assembly as a mark of love and support for the good work of the Governor in his first tenure.
He expressed belief that the local government area will experience more dividends of democracy from the state government in the next tenure, stating leaders and stakeholders in the area will articulate the needs of the area and present it to the Governor.
Former Commissioner for Urban Development in the State, Hon. Reason Onyia said he felt elated at the victory of the party and its candidates despite the harrowing experiences of voters in the hand of security agents and the opposition.
He was optimistic that the Governor will tackle issues of security and job creation in the state, adding that the second tenure of the governor will witness greater development efforts in the state.
Also speaking, the legislator-elect for Akuku-Toru Constituency II, Hon. Opuende Lolo Isaiah expressed thanks to God for the outcome but regretted the bloodbath that characterized the presidential election in the area.
He assured the people of his constituency of quality representation, noting that despite what transpired in the elections in the area, he was willing to align with the Governor in inviting the members of the opposition to join hands in bringing development to the local government area, adding that he will ensure that the problems of the people are brought to the attention of the Governor for action.
Mr. Victor Onyenechi Miller, Chief Security Officer (CSO) to Hon. Edison Ehie representing Ahoada East in the State House of Assembly, described the event as a celebration of the mandate given to the State by God.
According to him, the opposition used all its military might to cow the people but the people stood firm and defended their votes.