Awara Biokpomabo, governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in Rivers State, has rejected the suspension of the elections in the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced the suspension of the elections in Rivers State on Sunday over irregularities.
A fact-finding committee has also been set up and is now in the state to investigate the easons given for the suspension.
However, Biokpomabo, who listed the results from seven of 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in which he said he was leading, urged the electoral commission to declare him winner of the election.
According to the AAC governorship candidate, his party has polled a total of 289,773 votes against 76,633 votes allocated to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
THE FULL STATEMENT
Gentlemen of the Press,
My name is Engr. Awara Biokpomabo, the governorship candidate for the African Action Congress (AAC), the candidate leading in the governorship election. You are all welcome to this press conference on the state of the governorship and house of assembly elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 09-03-2019.
My Party, the African Action Congress (AAC), a duly registered political party fielded candidates for the governorship, house of representatives, senate, and house of assembly positions for the general election held on the 9th day of March, 2019.
The aforesaid elections held as scheduled and proceeded up to collation stage in some Local Government Areas, and in some other Local Government Areas, results had already been collated and declared, before the Independent National Electoral Commission suspended the remaining stages of the election, which I was in clear lead and was coasting to victory. Some of the unit results announced at the polling units in the Local Government where collations were not concluded clearly before the suspension of the processes show that I won over 15 Local Government Areas.
INEC pleaded insecurity, violence, seizure of electoral materials by hoodlums, etc., as the reasons for suspending the remaining stages of the election. I reject the reason given by INEC. This because in the Local Government Areas that were affected, voting had concluded, results declared at the polling units and collation had begun before the abrupt suspension of the process. The Commission does not have the power under our Electoral Act to suspend elections that has already been concluded.
My agents at the field reported to me that the results had already been declared in the under listed Local Government Areas:
The Local Government Areas collations where ongoing were: Opobo/Nkoro, Abua/Odual, Okirika, Ogu/Bolo, Khana, Degema, Tai, Obio/Akpor, Gokana, Bonny, Ahoada East, Omuma, Andoni, Etche, Emohua, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni.
The suspension of the elections by INEC was done to give respite to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was trailing behind, frustrate my victory. My party went into these elections against an umpire dangerously skewed in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The Resident Electoral Commissioner, all the electoral officers, assistant electoral officers, heads of department in the Rivers offices of the Commission were all working for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. No wonder when they saw that I was leading and would eventually win the election, they raised a false alarm to the headquarters of the commission and misinformed them that there was widespread violence and seizure of electoral materials.
We have on good authority the following facts:
i. Every Local Government Council Chairman in Rivers State pays the sum of One Million Naira (N1,000,000) to the Electoral Officer assigned to his Local Government and other sums of money to other electoral personnel;
ii. The Resident Electoral Commissioner was bought a house for in Maitama Area of Abuja by the Governor of Rivers State, who incidentally is the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); and
iii. The Administrative Secretary of the Rivers State office of the Commission, Elder Etim John, was paid the sum of Three Hundred MillionNaira (N300,000,000) by Governor Wike as inducement to secure 100 per cent posting of the ad hoc staff list in favour of the PDP.
To justify the financial inducement given to him by the Governor, the said Administrative Secretary Elder Etim John did not only ensure that the posting of the ad hoc staff overtly favoured the PDP, but he also got carried away to the extent that he even included the names of well known relatives of some PDP candidates and chieftains in the list.
On his part, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Oboe Efaga, on the eve of the election replaced most of the ad hoc workers, which were already published on the Commission’s notice boards with the names of card carrying members of the PDP. For instance, in the following Local Government Areas the under listed persons were suddenly deployed as Local Government Collation Officers:
i.Emohua: Dr. Peter Medee, a card carrying member of the PDP
ii.Khana: Mr. Gbenekanu Ledornu, who is both a card carrying member of the PDP and the younger brother of Dr. Barr Mpigi (a senatorial candidate of the PDP) was appointed Returning Officer for Khana LGA. The said Mr. Gbenekanu Ledornu has just completed course work on his Ph.D. programme. He is not yet a Lecturer not to talk of been a Senior Lecturer, yet Elder Etim John conniving with Mr. Oboe Efaga appointed him Returning Officer for Khana LGA.
iii. Tai: Prof. Patrick Mmon, a card carrying member of PDP
The said state Resident Electoral Commissioner Mr. Oboe Efaga, has not been able to conclude any election in Rivers State since he took over the office. You will all recall that the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Oboe Efaga, after suspending the PHALGA Constituency 111 State House of Assembly rerun election recklessly abandoned that election process since August 2018 until date. The AAC will not again allow the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Oboe Efaga, and INEC to subvert free and fair elections solely because it was obvious to them that their preferred candidate was losing the election.
I must not fail to mention the role played by the Governor of Rivers State and the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, during the collation process at the Obio Akpor Local Government Council Secretariat. The Governor stormed the collation centre with his army of thugs numbering over 200, fully armed with AK-47 assault rifles and overpowered the security officials that were posted to the collation centre to provide security and carted away ALL the electoral materials, including both original copies of unit result sheets and ward collation sheets that were being used for the collation of results by the electoral officials and took them to the Rivers State Government House, where they were filled out with over-inflated figures. The Army Captain and other military officers that were shot in the process are still in critical condition at the Military Hospital, Port Harcourt, where they are receiving medical treatments.
It should be noted that during the National Assembly rerun election in Rivers State in 2016, Governor Wike stormed the Rivers East Senatorial District Collation Centre at the Port Harcourt City Local Government Council secretariat Port Harcourt in the same manner he stormed the Obio Akpor Local Government Collation Centre yesterday, the 9th day of March, 2019, and forced the Senatorial Collation Officer to declare Senator George Thompson Sekibo as the winner at gunpoint.
At the Emohua Local Government Area, the Electoral officer absconded with ALL the sensitive election materials and ran to the INEC head office in Port Harcourt pleading insecurity while the atmosphere was calm at the INEC office in Emohua.
Obio/Akpor and Emohua Local Government Areas perhaps were the only two Local Government Areas that the collation process were disrupted. The said disruptions were caused by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party himself. Suspending the said election on the ground of violence will amount to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party benefiting from his own wrong.
In the light of the forgoing facts, I make the following demands:
i. That the results already declared at the aforesaid Local Government collation centres should be accepted;
ii. That INEC should declare me, Engr. Awara Biokpomabo of the African Action Congress (AAC), winner of the 09-03-2019 governorship election in the state;
iii. The state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Oboe Efaga, should be immediately redeployed for gross incompetence. The said state Resident Electoral Commissioner has not been able to conclude any election in Rivers State since he took over the office. The PHALGA Constituency 111 State Assembly election is a case in point.
Thank very much.