By Amaechi Okonkwo, Port Harcourt
The governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in Rivers State, Awara Biokpomabo, has demanded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare him winner of the March 9, governorship election in the state.
He also demanded that INEC should accept the result of 15 out of 23 local government areas he claimed was already collated and which he said he won and places him in good position to win the election.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Port Harcourt on Monday in reaction to the suspension of the election process in Rivers State, the AAC governorship flag bearer also demanded that Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Rivers State, Oboh Effanga, 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 study”, he insisted.
He called on INEC to accept the results already declared at the 15 Local Government collation centres saying: “some of the unit results announced at the polling units in the local government where collations were not concluded before the suspension of the processes showed that I won over 15 local government areas.
“The INEC pleaded insecurity, violence, seizure of electoral materials by hoodlums, as the reasons for suspending the remaining stages of the election. I reject the reason given by INEC. This is 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”.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioner, all the electoral officers, etc 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,” he said.
Meanwhile some civil society organizations, on Monday, also staged a protest in Port Harcourt against the delay by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to release the result of the last Saturday’s governorship and state house of assembly elections.
The protest was led by three civil society groups in the state; International Society for Social Justice and Human Right, Advocate for Peace and Electoral Right Defence as well as Education Network.
The protesters accused the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Oboh Efanga, of bias and called on the national chairman of the Commission, Mamoud Yakubu, to order him (Effanga) to announce the results of the polls so far collated to ease the tension already mounting in the state.
Addressing the protesters before the military men at the blockade at the GRA junction yesterday, the leader of the groups, Dr. Omenazu Jackson, blamed the spate of violent killings in the state on poor governance and hash leadership of Governor Wike.
Omenazu said, “Our people are not animals. Killing is not part of the traits of an average Rivers man. Our lifestyle does not give credence to maiming, killing and burning of houses. An average Rivers man who has Rivers blood is a peaceful person.
“We want to use this opportunity to tell the world that today, our military men are being killed, our police officers are being abducted and killed, and this has given this state negative publicity,” he said.