Okafor Ofiebor /Port-Harcourt
Despite the suspension of the Port Harcourt constituency 3, Rivers State by-election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the dust generated by it has refused to settle.
Less than 24 hours after Governor Nyesom Wike made a statewide broadcast accusing the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree of disrupting the election,the APC chairman has fired back alleging that Wike pleaded with him to compromise his support for the party to enable the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, win last Saturday’s House of Assembly by-election.
Wike was alleged to have offered bribe to Flag-Amachree to the tune of N200 million for the APC chairman to relax his determination to push APC’s quest for victory.
When, however, Flag-Amachee refused his cash it was then Wike reportedly despatched hIs Chief Security Officer, CSO, and heavily armed policemen from the Rivers State Government House to the areas of the election.
The shocking revelations were made by Flag-Amachree who addressed journalists at the APC State Secretariat along Aba Road in Port Harcourt on Monday.
According to the Chairman, the mayhem that the Rivers State Government unleashed on the electorate last Saturday began soon as the polling units opened that day.
“Some hours after the voting process commenced across the 142 units of the constituency, words came out through the agents of both parties that the APC candidate was winning comfortably in most of the units.
” No sooner the information was given to Gov. Nyesom Wike than he mobilised his Chief Security Officer, Mr. Promise Nwosu who led fully armed officers and men of the Nigeria Police attached to Government House, Port Harcourt to invade various polling units to forcefully disrupt an otherwise peaceful exercise for the purpose of rigging the process in favour of the PDP candidate. In the course of that intervention, several shots were fired to intimidate both voters and election officials”, Flag-Amachee alleged during the press briefing.
The APC State Chairman, who commended voters in Port Harcourt State Constituency 3 for resisting the armed policemen, said that when it became obvious that Wike’s alleged use of armed state security to thwart the peaceful conduct of the election was unsuccessful, he mobilised armed militia groups to invade the polling units.
“Having failed to substantially cow the voters, especially APC members among them due to their stoic and resolute determination, Governor Wike reached out to the State Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Hon. Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, pleading to have the Chairman’s cooperation and in return for the sum of N200 million bribe from him (the governor). Hon. Flag-Amachree declined the bribe and promptly reported to the leadership of the APC”, Flag-Amachee said.
He insisted that since collated field results showed APC was in the lead, INEC should conclude the exercise by declaring the results, which he said, would enable whoever might be aggrieved seek redress in the Court of law.
The APC State Chairman condemned the Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Rivers State, Obo Effanga, for being partisan.
Flag-Amachree alleged that Wike was already paying officials of INEC in Rivers State various amounts of money to have them in his pocket.
“We in APC are not surprised that INEC and Governor Wike are working hand-in-gloves to rig elections in Rivers State. We believe that the recruitment and posting of a confessed PDP apologist and virulent critic of the President Buhari government, Mr.Obo Effanga is beyond mere accident.
“The highly convoluted memo suspending the by-election further attests to the fact of a well-entrenched bias on the part of the INEC REC.”
APC Chairman exonerated the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force of complicity in the banditry of last Saturday.
“Gov. Wike lies without conscience. He accused the FSARS under its Rivers State Commander, Mr. Akin Fakorede, of meddling in the by-election.
“This is a horrendous lie taken from the pit of hell. In fact, as the governor was looking into the eyes of Rivers people and lying to them against FSARS, Akin Fakorede was in faraway Abuja where all FSARS Commanders in Nigeria were in a conference with the Inspector-General of Police. Akin was nowhere near Rivers State days before and on the by-election day in question.”
In a swift reaction, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Emma Okah, described the allegations of the APC Chairman as lies.
He said there was no way the state governor would attempt to to bribe the APC Chairman for an election that the person who won it before the seat was declared vacant was a PDP candidate before he contested for the Chairmanship position of Port Harcourt City Council, proving that the party was in control of the area.