CANDIDATES of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were on Sunday, February 26, declared winners of the legislative rerun elections in Etche, Rivers State.
Figures released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, showed that Jerome Eke of the PDP scored 15, 221 votes to defeat his closest rival, Ogbonnaya Wuke of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who scored 6, 220 votes.
Anthony Ejiogu of the PDP scored 4, 162 votes to win the election as a legislator. Golden Chioma, candidate of the APC candidate, had 1, 618 votes.
The results were announced by Shola Omotola and Olatubosun Odusanya. But the APC agents rejected the results, alleging irregularities. About 15,131 votes were cancelled in six wards and 44 polling units.
Omotola, a professor of Political Science from the Federal University Oye-Ekiti, accused Governor Nyesom Wike of humiliating returning officers. He said the governor was at the INEC office at midnight to insist on declaration of results.
He said: “I am not going to deny that the governor was here, (INEC office), last night. I’m not also going to deny the fact that I felt thoroughly humiliated, embarrassed, whatever way you want to describe it.
“When we left the venue at Etche, we saw tension building. I called the National Commissioner, and appealed to her to inform the military personnel to provide escort for us to move out of that place.
“To my surprise, we got here (INEC office), a few minutes to 12 midnight and we met the governor already inside here, INEC premises; how he got here I don’t know, but for the fact that we were thoroughly humiliated cannot be denied. It is important I clarify that.
“It is however also important that I reassure you that yes, the governor used all tricks to force us to declare results. But, we stood our ground. We never declared any results yesterday. What we did when he insisted was on getting a copy of the results we have tallied.
“He came together with PDP agent; but what I am trying to say is that on the basis of those threats, yield to his demands and again, it is also important that I reiterate the fact that the results that were so presented was as gotten from the LGA.”
But Simeon Nwakaudu, Wike’s media aide, in a statement on Sunday, February 26, said: “As the two INEC Returning Officers for the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, Prof Shola Omotola and Etche Constituency 2, Oluwatosin Odusonya were about to declare the PDP winner, military personnel at the collation centre brought a phone to them, claiming that the call was from the national commissioner of the INEC in charge of the election.
“Upon receiving the call, INEC returning officer for Etche/Omuma federal constituency, Prof Shola Omotola stated that all collated results should be moved to the Port Harcourt office of INEC.
“Soldiers of the Nigerian Army who stopped the declaration at Okehi moved the collated results alongside party agents and political leaders to Port Harcourt. They were joined by PDP leaders led by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and the APC Candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, Mr Ogbonna Nwuke.
“At the headquarters, leaders of the two parties insisted that the two INEC Returning Officers publicly announce collated results to the media and party agents present.
“After the announcement, the INEC Returning Officers handed the already collated results to party agents.
“Party leaders left INEC by 3.30am on Sunday morning, while agents and security agencies were detailed to stay with the INEC Returning Officers for the declaration of results by 9am on Sunday, 26th February, 2017.
“The Returning Officers claimed that they were directed by the National Commissioner not to declare PDP winner of the two elections. They claimed that the National Commissioner said she must get clearance from Abuja, before any further step would be taken.”
— Feb 27, 2017 @ 15:00 GMT