Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has again floored the former governor of the state and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, in the concluding rerun election held at the weekend.
National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the winner of the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency.
Returning Officer, for the election, Prof. Shola Omotola, announced the results at the collation centre in Okehi.
The results indicated that for the Etche/Omuma federal constituency, Chief Jerome Eke of the PDP defeated Mr. Ogbonna Nwuke of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to Omotola, PDP polled 15,221 votes while APC scored 6, 220. Also, for the state constituency 2 seat, Tony Ejiogu of PDP defeated Mr. Golden Chioma of the APC.
The Returning Officer for the Assembly seats, Oluwatosin Odusanya, announced that PDP polled 4,162 votes, while APC scored 1,618.
Daily Sun gathered that, as the two INEC returning officers were about to declare the PDP winner, military personnel at the collation centre brought a phone to them, alleging that the call was from the National Commissioner of INEC in charge of the election.
After receiving the call, returning officer for Etche/the Omuma Federal Constituency, was quoted as saying that all collated results should be moved to the Port Harcourt office of INEC.
Military personnel, who allegedly stopped the declaration in Okehi, amoved the collated results alongside party agents and political leaders to Port Harcourt.
They were joined by PDP leaders, led by Governor Nyesom Wike and the APC candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, Mr. Ogbonna Nwuke.
At the headquarters, leaders of the two parties were said to have insisted that the two INEC returning officers should publicly announce collated results to the media and party agents present.
They were said to have prompty complied and after the announcement, the returning officers handed the collated results to party agents.
The party leaders, it was learnt, left INEC office at about 3.30am, while agents and security agencies were detailed to stay with the INEC returning officers for the declaration of results by 9.00am yesterday.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike has advised leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) to forget about rigging in the state as the people will always resist their evil machinations.
The governor also stated that Rivers State remained a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state where the people are satisfied with his development strides which revived the state after the immediate past APC administration.
Speaking at a special thanksgiving service and dedication of awards bestowed on him by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), The Sun Newspapers, Authority Newspapers and Independent Newspapers, yesterday at Saint Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Wike regretted that APC leaders continued to fight against Rivers .
Wike said: “They should forget about this state. No matter the level of security force, they will not be able to snatch Rivers State.”
He, however, commended the security agencies which covered the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency elections for being professional, despite alleged pressure from the APC national leadership.
He also lauded the INEC for standing firm for the first time, noting that the commission attempted to redeem its battered image with the rerun election.
In another development, Rivers Support Initiative (RSI) has debunked a statement credited to Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, in which he was said to have alleged that Governor Wike booked 150 hotel rooms in Lagos for guests in celebration of his award as the Governor of the Year on Saturday by The Sun group of newspapers.
In a statement signed by Secretary General of RSI, Collins Ibekazi Enyindah, the group described as unbecoming and petty, Amaechi’s attack targeted at discrediting and distracting the purposeful administration of Governor Wike. “How can a person raise such an unfounded allegation knowing the same to be untrue, particularly when on the day of the said occasion, the hotel allocated only 17 rooms to Governor Wike and his guests, as other awardees were said to have also taken up available spaces in the ever busy hotel,” the group argued. The group warned Amaechi, whom it alleged lives in a glass house not to throw stones, as doing so will insult the sensibilities of the Rivers people. The statement added that it might also provoke the sense of reminiscence of the people of how over N1.8 trillion of tax payers money was allegedly siphoned by Amaechi while he was governor of Rivers State to finance the formation of the APC, for which he was personally rewarded with the office of minister of transportation, described as a Grade A ministry for his personal benefit.
“We only hope the minister realises that the era of carting away people’s money to finance interests that have no direct benefit on Rivers people is over. Our people will certainly no longer tolerate a man who has since abandoned them, without even a hut in his village to establish affinity.
“It is obvious that Mr. Amaechi has lost his bearing, and there is a total disconnect with Rivers people and what is happening around them, and should concentrate on the job given to him in Abuja for which Rivers people are expecting him to attract legitimate benefits due them as of right and leave Governor Wike alone to concentrate on the good works he is doing in the state, and for which the acting President Yemi Osinbajo appropriately nicknamed him ‘Mr. Project’.
“Talking about recklessness in spending of public funds, coming from a man who was associated with reckless spending of public funds while in office as governor of Rivers State can only amount to a kettle calling a pot black,” the statemen said.
Regaedless, the PDP and APC have dissenting voices on the outcome of the Saturday rerun legislative elections in Etche council. While the PDP lauded the results, which were in its favour, the APC rejected the outcome of the elections over irregularities.
Chairman of the PDP, Felix Obuah, in a statement issued by his media aide, Jerry Needam, hailed what he described as “the uncommon courage of members of the party and the good people of Etche and Omuma,” that ensured victory for the PDP in the area, “even in the face of harassment, intimidation, attacks, maiming and arrests of innocent PDP members by men of the Nigeria Army and police.”
The PDP chairman described the alleged interference and involvement of the military and men of the Nigeria Police in electoral process as “worrisome, condemnable and portend great danger for Nigeria’s democracy.
The PDP regrets that soldiers and policemen deployed to maintain peace and security in Etche invaded collation centres to stop announcement of results, adding that their activities were resisted by the people of Etche.
Obuah congratulated candidates of the PDP, Chief Jerome Eke, Etche/Omuma federal constituency and Tony Ejiogu, Etche state constituency 2, for emerging victorious, and people of Etche/Omuma for voting for the PDP.
In a swift reaction, APC Chairman, Chief Davies Ikanya, in a statement yesterday, said the results were for the rerun elections earlier declared inconclusive by the returning officers at the Okehi on Saturday.
Ikanya stated: “They had subsequently announced that the conclusion of the process would take place today (Sunday) or on Monday. However, we were taken aback, when it was reported that the National Electoral Commissioner in charge, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, had ordered that the incomplete results be declared, despite the earlier declaration by the two returning officers on Saturday, at Okehi that the elections were inconclusive.
“The APC vehemently rejects the results as declared today (Sunday), at the state INEC office in Port Harcourt. This action by INEC runs counter and contradictory to earlier announcement on Saturday, by the aforementioned returning officers, who are the duly empowered persons to make such declarations.”
In another development, Governor Wike has said Rivers people would continue to resist fraudulent attempts to manipulate election results. He declared that elections could only be won at the polling units and not through the swapping of result sheets by security agencies and INEC.