Pulled from Global Village Extra
If reports reaching Global Village Extra over the irregularities surrounding the gubernatorial election in Rivers state are anything to go by, newly elected governor of the state, Nyesom Wike, may have landed himself in serious trouble.
Wike, who contested and won the 11 April election under controversial circumstances, is courting trouble already following a recent document released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on the poll in the state.
According to the result declared by the Returning Officer (RO) for Rivers State, Osasere Orumwense, on 13 April, Wike was awarded 1,029,102 votes, representing 87.77 per cent of 1,228,614, being the conjured number of total accredited voters.
However, according to a 94-page INEC endorsed document obtained by Premium Times, the total number of accredited voters for the 11 April guber election in Rivers state was 292, 878.
The document was signed by the acting director in charge of INEC Legal Unit, Ibrahim Bawa and the head of unit, Data Management, of the commission’s Information Communication Territory Department, Abimbola Oladunjoye.
Premium Times reports that it is practically impossible for Wike or any other candidates in the election to garner votes exceeding the total number of accredited voters, much less amassing such hyper-inflated figure of 1,029,102 awarded to Wike.
In Nigeria’s current electoral system, INEC’s central server automatically generates figures of voters accredited with the electronic Smart Card Readers and Permanent Voters’ Cards across the polling units.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, prior to the election had explained that, card reader was to prevent electoral fraud, especially falsification of number of accredited voters to inflate number of votes cast, as in the case of PDP and Wike, and INEC in Rivers State.
Insiders in INEC, who spoke to Premium Times said, the number of accredited voters generated by the commission’s central server is the authentic number for the Rivers state governorship elections, adding that it would impossible for anyone to justify the excess votes allocated to Wike.
In the document, detailing polling unit by polling unit analysis of actual voters’ accreditation for the election, none of the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) had up to 51, 000 accredited voters.
Rivers State is currently delineated into 319 Registration Areas (Wards) and 4,442 polling units.
Port Harcourt LGA had the highest number of accredited voters with 50, 962, while Khana LGA had just 145 registered voters turning up for accreditation.
The LGA by LGA analysis of the accredited votes shows that Obio/Akpor had 40,481 accredited voters and it was the only LGA with more than 40,000 but lower than 50,000.
Ogba/Egbema/Ndonu LGA had 24,816 accredited voters, while Ikwere LGA had 22,274.
Meanwhile, seven LGAs had between 10,000 and 20,000 accredited voters, according to the INEC endorsed document.
They comprised Ahoada East (16,116 accredited voters); Ahoada West (16,369); Bonny (15,503); Degema (16,993); Akuku-Toru (12,439); Andoni (13,530); and Gokana (12,127).
Others are Asari-Toru (7,328); Emohua (5,014); Okrika (8,790); Opobo Nekoro (7,313); and Oyingbo (9,503); Abual-Odual (2,054); Omuma (1,998); Etche (1,268); Eleme (3,530); Khana (145); Ogu/Bolo (903); and Tai (3,362).
But, sources in the INEC office said the only logical explanation that can be rendered for the increased number of accredited voters exceeding 292,887, is if manual accreditation was used in addition to the use of card readers.
But, INEC did not approve the use of manual accreditation for governorship election in any of the states of the Federation.
Reacting to the development, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, on Friday, 8 May, confirmed that manual accreditation was not employed in any state for the 11 April elections.
The petitioners challenging Wike’s purported victory at the election petition tribunal are Kemka Elenwo (KOWA party), Dakuku Peterside (APC), Charles Harry, (APGA) and Minaibim Harry (SDP) .
The All Progressive Congress (APC), election observers, and European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria’s 2015 elections, had condemned the elections in Rivers State, alleging violence and several irregularities.
In a separate development, Jega, on Friday said the electoral umpire has no power to cancel Rivers and Akwa Ibom states polls, saying: “it is only the election petition tribunals that can order that or even cancelled the elections. We would advice anyone who is aggrieved to go to the court”.