The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers on Monday narrated events of the suspended PHALGA Constituency 3 bye-election held on August 18, 2018. The party’s spokesman, Chris Finebone, in a statement on behalf of Hon. Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, APC State Chairman, insisted that Governor Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were culpable in the suspension of the exercise.
He also accused the Governor of attempting to bribe Amachree to work against the APC. According to him, 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.
He said: “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.
“Having failed to substantially cow the voters especially APC members among them due to their stoic and resolute determination, Gov. 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 get 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.
“In a failed mission to bribe Hon. Flag-Amachree, Gov. Wike and his CSO became more determined to scuttle the bye-election by joining forces with their armed hoodlums to shoot sporadically around the polling stations they visited, beating lawful voters and in some cases either destroying or carting away voting materials. It appeared that from that moment the governor decided to undertake a smear campaign against Hon. Ojukaye Flag-Amachree as demonstrated in his subsequent broadcast and interviews.
“Gov. Nyesom Wikes state broadcast hours after the bye-election was generously laced with despicable white lies against Hon. Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, the APC and the police especially F-SARS and its commander, Akin Fakorede. These blatant lies did not come to many as a surprise as it is typical of the governor to lie without conscience and not considering the very high office he accidentally occupies. But like it is said: If you give a big office to a small man he will ultimately reduce it to his size.
“It is a well-known fact that Gov. Wike has all the Electoral Officers (EOs) in Rivers State INEC on his payroll with the purpose of compromising the 2019 elections in advance. He has been paying a monthly sum between N1m to N3m to the various officers depending on rank. This seems to have already started yielding result for him. Gov. Wike also have pencilled down key security agents to compromise and partner with, to rig elections up to and including the 2019 elections. Unfortunately for him, a handful of the security people have rebuffed his entreaties.
“We in APC are not surprised that INEC and Gov. 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 bye-election further attests to the fact of a well-entrenched bias on the part of the INEC REC. The following link is an op-ed in the Punch newspaper of May 30, 2016 titled: The Change government one year after by Mr. Obo Effanga before he was mysteriously employed and posted to Rivers State as Resident Electoral Commissioner.
“We believe that INEC is quite informed about the scope and dimensions of its powers with regard to conduct of elections. We call on the Commission to immediately conclude the process by announcing the winner of the bye-election without further delay. Results collated by the APC Situation Room from APC agents at the 142 units of PHALGA Constituency 3 indicate that the APC candidate was leading comfortably. INEC has no other option than to announce the results immediately or meet our party in court. It does not lie in the hands of INEC to determine the outcome of elections; it is for INEC to announce the outcome of elections as determined by the people.”