Hope of a second term for Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has been rekindled as he leads with wide margins in the local government areas collated so far.
Twenty-three days after it suspended the collation of the state’s governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) resumed the exercise yesterday.
It was attended by a heavy presence of policemen and operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) who cordoned off the entire stretch of road between Waterlines and GRA Junction in Port Harcourt.
Before declaring the results, the National Commissioner for Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers State, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, assured all stakeholders of a credible process.
Present at the collation centre were the Resident Electoral Commissioners for Niger, Ebonyi, and Rivers States, and the Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leads in 13 local government areas while the African Action Congress (AAC) trails behind in two.
INEC said it would resume collation of results of the other local government areas today.
PDP polled 40,197 in Port Harcourt LGA while AAC got 11,866. In Ikwerre LGA, where Minister of Transportation Chibuike Amaechi hails from, PDP scored 14,938 while AAC had 5660. The council has 13 wards. Election did not take place in two wards due to violence.
PDP won in Andoni LGA, where the party’s national chairman, Uche Secondus, hails from. It polled 92,056 while AAC had 5335, prompting an objection from AAC agent and secretary in the state, Nenye Kocha.
AAC scored 32,026 in Oyigbo LGA while PDP had 8652. AAC had 36,661 in Akuku Toru LGA where its governorship candidate, Biokpomabo Awara, hails from. The PDP scored 25,765.
In Eleme LGA, the PDP had 9560 and the AAC 2748. In Opobo/Nkoro LGA, the AAC polled 3888 while the PDP got 6314. The collation officer, Ndubueze Nnunukwe, declared that election was cancelled in 19 units spread across five wards. A total of 7030 registered voters were affected by the cancellation.
In Bonny, PDP polled 10,551 while AAC had 3036. According to the collation officer, Prof. Okpako Johnson, elections were cancelled in Ward 4 and 12 due to violence.
In Okrika LGA, the PDP scored 25,572 and the AAC 3803. The PDP also won in Omuma LGA with 15,792 votes as against AAC’s 1853 votes.
PDP had a boost in Tai LGA. It polled 47,652 votes while AAC polled 540. PDP repeated the feat in Ahaoada East where it scored 14,589 votes as against AAC’s 3713. Also in Emohua LGA, PDP scored 71,522 while AAC had 2856.
The state returning officer, Prof. Teddy Adias, said the collation would continue today with the declaration of the results of Obio-Akpor and Ogu/Bolo LGAs. He said the results of the other six LGAs: Khana, Asari-Toru, Degema, Ahoada West, Abua/Odual and Gokana that were not collated before the suspension on 10 March would begin today. He expressed optimism that the exercise would be concluded the same day.
The PDP party agent, former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Austin Opara, commended INEC and security agencies for the peaceful conduct of the exercise. He however regretted the non-disclosure by INEC officials of violence.
He said: “Our party has accepted that result. The electoral officer is yet to tell us the whole truth. The information we have is that he wrote that result at gunpoint. But surprisingly, he didn’t say that here. So, we decide to let it go. PDP is coasting home clearly. We believe this will be a new Rivers State. Rivers State cannot continue to be in the news for the wrong reasons. We will sincerely apologise to Rivers people for the stress some people have caused the state for their selfish interest.”
AAC secretary and agent, Nenyi Kocha described the collation as transparent. He however expressed reservation about the figures declared. He said: “Things are unveiling. We have been in the dark as to what has happened. We heard INEC has 17 local government areas. We didn’t know what is in these local governments. We were winning but we have come here now to see what is happening and it appears to be a departure from what we had in mind. It is transparent but in terms of the figures, the figures we are seeing are not my expectation.
“As a party, we are going to review issues. We are going to look at the whole gamut of things that have happened this period. The governorship candidate is also going to review what he has held in the past. When you go into election, you get reports from the field. And then, just like you saw now, there are cancellations. Assuming you were leading in an area that was cancelled, it distorts what you have in mind. As a party we will look at what has happened. We will review it and we will know where to take it up from there.”
Mr. Chris Finebone, the spokesperson of the Amaechi faction of the APC, which entered into an alliance with the AAC described the results declared so far as a farce, vowing to mount a legal challenge.
“We lack faith in the process. It is a charade. We will definitely not allow this brigandage. We should not allow this kind of impunity to stand. We are working with AAC and we will fight this in court. We have a video where results were declared after collation, for instance in Ahoada West, yet they said election did not hold there.”
Wike, barely needs to win three more local government areas to secure a second term.