Wike Assigns Ministries To 20 New Commissioners

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers has assigned portfolios to newly appointed commissioners in the state.

 

According to a statement posted on social media handle of the newly appointed Rivers state Commissioner for Information, Emma Okah, revealed that the new commissioners were inaugurated by the governor on Wednesday.

 

The new commissioners and their portfolios are as follows:

 

  1. Barr Emma Okah – Information
  2. Prof Roseline Konya – Environment
  3. Chief Ibibia Walter – Transport
  4. Barr Isaac Kamalu – Budget
  5. Mrs Tonye Oniyide – Culture
  6. Prof Kaniye Ebeku – Water Resources
  7. Rt Hon Dum Dekor – Works
  8. Barr Mrs Ukel Oyaghiri – Women Affairs
  9. Dr Fred Kpakol – Finance
  10. Hon Tamunosisi Gogo Jaja – Education
  11. Prof Chike Princewill – Health
  12. Hon Damiete Herbert Miller – Social Welfare
  13. Hon Ruderford LongJohn – Local Government
  14. Hon Shedrack Chukwu – Power
  15. Hon Boma Iyaye – Sports
  16. Hon Emeka Onowu – Special Services
  17. Chief Chinedu Tasie – Housing
  18. Barr Sylvanus Nwankwo – Chieftaincy
  19. Mr Charles Nwogu – Agriculture

 

Emmanuel Aguma, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had earlier been sworn in as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, bringing the number of commissioners in the state to 20.

 

Performing the swearing-in, governor Wike had charged the commissioners to exhibit 100 percent loyalty.

 

He said, “We demand 100 percent loyalty. This work deserves total commitment. When you have the opportunity to serve the state, it is a rare privilege. Therefore, you have to be committed to service.

 

“We are rebuilding the state because a lot went wrong during the immediate past administration of the APC. You need to put in your best.”

 

Schools In Rivers State Feel Governor Nyesom Wike’s Impact

Recently Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike has been carrying out operations all over the state that  has gotten the attention of the media. Now it seems the educational sector is next to bear the heat, as the governor shut down at least 1,886 schools operating without government’s approval in the state.

Wike made the announcement yesterday when the management staff of Jesuit Memorial College, Mbodo-Aluu, paid him a courtesy visit.  He said the schools were shut for failing to meet specified standards of the state Ministry of education.

He said that parents patronising the affected schools had  been told to relocate their kids before the next academic session began.  According to him, the government will  fully implement measures aimed at strengthening the state education sector by September 2017.

According to the governor, most illegal schools have become WAEC magic centres where examination malpractices are promoted.

Wike’s Cabinet Members On The Edge As He Sacks Again

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Monday in Port Harcourt relieved the Chairmen of four Local Government Caretaker Committees of their appointments. According to a statement by Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the governor on Electronic Media, the affected committee chairmen are those of Gokana, Asari-Toru, Emohua and Ogu-Bolo Local Government Areas.

Recall that the Governor recently sacked his special advisers except one.

The governor thanked the Chairmen for their services to the state and wished them well in their future endeavours.

The statement did not specify reasons for the sacking of the affected caretaker committee chairmen.

Police IG Is Plotting To Kill Me- Wike

The executive Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike has said that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris is plotting to kill him

Wike made this claim while speaking to journalists in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Saturday that before he travelled to Kaduna on Friday, the IGP directed his crack team to invade his home in Asokoro, Abuja supposedly acting on information from a whistle-blower.

“I want to reiterate, the Inspector-General of Police is after my life,” he said.

He claimed the planned raid was aimed at planting firearms, cash and other incriminating exhibits in his Abuja home, claims the police have denied.

Wike said, “All attempts are being made so that they will go and plant either AK-47 or $1m in the governor’s house. They can even plant costly wrist watches as a propaganda tool.

“I said I have to let Nigerians know that this is not the way to go about in a democracy. Rather, this is an attempt to truncate democracy. That someone differs on issues does not mean you have to go after the person’s life.”

According to the governor, the police also planned to obtain a search warrant from the court on Tuesday, as Monday is a public holiday, under the guise that they unaware that the house in question belonged to a sitting governor.

He called on the police to come to his home in rivers to conduct their search, instead of his Abuja residence, which he hardly visits.

“Nigerians should be aware that should they raid my house in Abuja and claim they found anything, it is incorrect. I have not been going to Abuja, but I will be in Abuja to wait for them to see how they plan to plant guns in my house,” Wike said.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, however, denied the governor’s allegation.

In a telephone interview with our correspondent in Abuja, Moshood said the police never plants incriminating materials in the house of anybody.

The Force PRO also said he was not aware of any plan by the police to raid the Abuja home of Governor Wike.

He added that the Police would always act within ‎its constitutional mandate of protecting lives and properties including the prevention of crime.

Sheriff: Wike Gave Jonathan N50m For PDP Stakeholders Meeting

The court backed National Chairman of People’s Democratic (PDP), Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff has alleged that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike gave former President Goodluck Jonathan N50 million to organise the recent stakeholders meeting in Abuja.

But Dr. Jonathan has denied the allegation, saying that he took it upon himself to convene the meeting out of his genuine concern for peace to reign in the party.

Also reacting to the allegation, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose said Sheriff has taking his desperation too far by accusing the former president of taking bribe.

Fayose, in an SMS message by his media aide, Lere Olayinka, stated, “If Sheriff has taken his desperation to serve his paymasters in the APC to the level of accusing Jonathan of being bribed to organise peace meeting for the PDP, there is no reason for any sane mind to continue to respond to the continuous advertisement of his political insanity”.

But Sheriff who spoke through his deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh at a news conference at the party’s secretariat on Thursday, said Governors Wike and Fayose recruited the Jonathan into a fake peace effort pre-determined to scuttle ongoing peace initiative in the party.

“The result is that President Jonathan was lured into committing a serious breach of protocol that led ‎to the failure of the exercise which was the intended outcome”, Sheriff said.

According to him, Wike and the media mogul, Chief Raymond Dokpesi have already established their own political party, adding that their mission was to tie the PDP down with undue controversies.

He further stated that the party was worried that the amount of money Wike was spending on the crisis could smear the image of the PDP

“This money belongs to the people of Rivers State and it should not be misappropriated at the expense of the people to whom it rightfully belonged.

“We therefore call on party leaders and Nigerians to refrain from accepting these monies from Governor Wike in line with the spirit of our founding fathers”, Sheriff added.

The party chairman restated his determination to go ahead with the plans to organise a convention for the party, saying preparations for a free and fair convention were in top gear.

Sheriff directed state chapter chairmen of the PDP to forward to the party secretariat the lists of all statutory delegates to the convention on or before April 27.

He added that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party would hold on May 3.

Dr. Jonathan who spoke through his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, dismissed Sheriff’s allegation that he collected N50 million from Wike.

According to him, he intervened in the crisis because of his genuine commitment to bring about peace in the party that made him president.

“I don’t think anybody will believe that Jonathan collected money from anybody to organise the meeting. It was out of his genuine concern to bring peace to the party.

“He has been meeting with members of the party; he met with Sheriff severally, he also met with Makarfi severally. He met with the governors.

“I don’t see any reason for anybody to say that Jonathan collected money from anybody to organise the stakeholders conference”, Eze said.

The Nation

Wike Is Not To Be Taken Serious – INEC

The Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent on Monday, urged Nigerians to dismiss the claim by Wike that the commission was not preparing for the next general elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said preparations towards the 2019 general elections are in top gear, stressing that it would not allow itself to be distracted by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

Wike said that INEC lacked the expected trust, insisting that the commission was only engrossed in a jamboree to deceive Nigerians and to spend money.

The Rivers governor had argued that INEC should use the card reader for all elections rather than use manual accreditation where the card readers failed.

“If we want to get election right in this country, INEC must say where the card readers do not work, elections should be held the next day.

“Nigeria should provide the funds. We should not do the wrong thing because of fund. Some argue that this thing is also done in advanced countries, but they forget that those places have established institutions and there is trust also. Here, there is no institution and there is no trust.

“In 2019, let me tell you, and mark this day, INEC is not prepared for any election. What they are doing is a jamboree to make sure that they are spending money. They can’t deceive me,” Wike had said.

Reacting, however, Oyekanmi said Wike was not someone that could be taken seriously on an issue of national importance.

He said contrary to Wike’s claim, INEC was making preparations for the 2019 elections as shown by the recent validation of its Strategic Plan by stakeholders in the society.

Oyekanmi stated further that as part of the move towards 2019, the Federal Government had appointed 27 Resident Electoral Commissioners while the Senate passed the amendments to the Electoral Act.

He stressed that the commission was focused on its preparations for the conduct of the next governorship election in Anambra State and could not afford to be distracted.

He said, “The Rivers State Governor is entitled to his opinion and I think Nigerians know him too well to take him seriously on any issue of national importance.

“But as far as INEC is concerned, our preparation for the 2019 general elections is on course. Stakeholders have just validated our Strategic Plan. The Federal Government recently appointed 27 Resident Electoral Commissioners and the Senate, thank God, has also just passed the amendments to the Electoral Act.

“We have the Anambra State governorship election to conduct later this year. Besides, the re-organisation of the commission is being carried out. So, we are on course and cannot be distracted.”

 

Source: Punch

Rivers State: Wike, Amaechi And The ‘Familiar Spirit’ Tussle By Ifeanyi Izeze

The problem is that talking about the differences between the governors that ruled Rivers State since 1999 has been the frenzy but nobody ever bothers talking about their similarities. And that matters. For the similarities tell a flattering story of a sea of sameness in all of them.

Close watchers of governance and politics in the state and all the activities of the Brick House and the new Government House since the advent of the current democratic dispensation in 1999, would obviously affirm that a “familiar spirit” rules the minds and hearts of all those that governed the state from 1999 to date without exception. Why is this disclosure necessary now? It is simply because the ordinary Rivers people have remained losers due to their manipulation by state governors, who typically abandon governance in pursuit of political enemies and inordinate Abuja ambitions.

As already established, all the governors that ruled Rivers State from 1999 to date usually start the same way and end in the same manner only to turn back and blame almost everybody but themselves for misapplying the state resources and ending up political pariahs both at home and the national stage.

Is it not curious that no incumbent governor of Rivers State since 1999 has ever tolerated, accommodated, or cooperated with their immediate predecessor? Do they quarrel because of the interest of the state and its people? No! Rather it is for the narrow selfish and inordinate ambitions of these men who normally reign like mafia bosses.

Peter Odili planted the seed of the romance with this “familiar spirit” that has continued to short-change the people when he, directly or by proxy, chased away Rufus Ada George from the state and made him a persona non grata. Every politician closely linked to Ada George was literally chased out of Port Harcourt.

Also, when Chibuike Amaechi came, after his days or rather months of “Jacob’s trouble,” he was all out to pay back his enemies and the topmost on his list were Odili, his former Oga, and of course, Celestine Omehia, who was used to replace him.

And in an attempt to make his vendetta mission look legal and patriotic, he recruited the late Justice Kayode Eso to execute the “Rivers Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” an idea that was supposed to heal all wounds and bitter hearts across the state but ended up deepening existing wounds.

And as stated by Odili in his submission on the Kayode Eso Commission, “the setting up of the so-called Kayode Eso ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ was clearly conceived, designed and programmed to permanently indict and incarcerate Odili.

“Clearly, no truth or reconciliation was intended by those who conceived the idea of this Commission, and given the trend so far, I dare say that no reconciliation can be achieved.”

Odili’s belief on the matter turned out to be the truth.

The panel came out with a recommendation that would have contrived Odili into political oblivion and infamy if not for the intervention of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua who ensured that the panel’s recommendations were not implemented.

Barely one month after he was sworn-in, Wike inaugurated a six-man panel of inquiry, headed by Justice Godwin Omereji, to investigate the financial transactions of the former government headed by Amaechi. The panel was charged with the responsibility of scrutinising contracts awarded by Amaechi and issue of assets of the state allegedly sold by his predecessor. With the speed of light, the panel nailed Amaechi on sales of state assets to his cronies and diversion of the proceeds to unknown accounts.

In response to the development, Amaechi’s group claimed that Wike’s panel was aimed at blackmailing and rubbishing the former governor as part of alleged desperate efforts to scuttle his chances of getting appointment in the Buhari-led federal government.

When Odili came in 1999 he had only one mission in mind: to frugally apply the state resources in infrastructure and human capital development. And no matter what anybody says, he did well in achieving fleets of milestones in initiating and executing outstanding people-oriented projects across the state, including the health sector and its free medical treatment for pregnant women, children and the senior citizens, the nationwide pioneer in independent power generation, housing scheme, road and transportation projects, etc. Pathetically, he lost every sense of service to Rivers State when he got carried away by the lure of becoming Obasanjo’s successor.

Amaechi also did very well in his first tenure in initiating and implementing relevant people-oriented development projects. He stood out nationwide in his turnaround initiatives in the school systems where he remodeled and fully equipped primary and secondary schools across the state and even tertiary institutions. Amaechi took empowerment of Rivers people to heights not recorded by anybody before him in awarding big project contracts to indigenes of the state. However, this turned out to be one of his biggest undoings, as almost all of these indigenous contractors either did shoddy jobs or outrightly collected full payments for project contracts without lifting a pin on site.

The incumbent, Governor Wike, no doubt, is currently doing well in his peculiar gra-gra way of addressing the development challenges that confront the state and its people. Most of the degraded or abandoned infrastructure development projects: roads, drainages, housing schemes etc across the state are being worked on. Also there are scores of innovative projects being initiated and executed with the zeal of a yewali.

But like his predecessor who literally became airborne in his second tenure, the lure of Abuja politics and power play is already distracting Wike from the pressing needs at home. Like Amaechi who abandoned Rivers State in his pursuit of the Governors’ Forum politics and his alleged vice presidential ambition, the incumbent governor is also losing sight of the state to his commanding role in the PDP crisis and the proposed new mega party project. Odili did the same in his second tenure when Obasanjo and his wife literally relocated to Port Harcourt promising him of handing over power to him in 2007 presidential election.

After all he did in Abuja and across the country with Rivers State money toward realizing his dream of becoming the president of Nigeria, Odili was abandoned by Obasanjo. And whether anybody wants to hear this or not, after all Amaechi also did with Rivers State money to support and actualize the Buhari presidency, he was almost dropped and currently he is almost being abandoned.

Now will Wike learn from the mistakes of his predecessors? Not sure! His dance steps are not in any way suggesting he has learnt a single lesson from the way his ogas were treated at the centre. So he is possibly going to end up like them and that obviously is going to be also after draining the highly needed and now scarce resources of Rivers state to chase familiar spirits in Abuja.

Has anybody ever wondered what could have been the cause of the ongoing “irreconcilable bitterness” between Amaechi and Wike? All the adduced reasons – the senate and governorship ambitions, diversion of contract monies, etc. – are at best mere hoaxes.

Truth be told, none of the two Ikwerre brothers can explain in real terms the root cause and sustenance of the bitterness between them. Amaechi would not hide anything to prove he is a good Christian. As governor, he literally lived in the Church. Wike also has been dangling his new born again identity and currently lives in the Church though the man has no denomination. He worships in white, red, blue and black garment churches and also the Pentecostal brands. The question is: why has it become so difficult or rather impossibility for these two men to forgive each other of whatever the offense in the interest of the state also so that their prayers would not be hindered? Is it not the working of the “familiar spirit”?

Who is the ultimate loser in all these executive quarrels and misbehaviors? Is it not the ordinary Rivers people who have continued to live in abject poverty while their monies are being plundered to fund illicit activities both at home and in Abuja? With the kind of money the state received from 1999 to date, there are infrastructural and developmental programs that are not supposed to still be luxuries in the state. If states like Anambra, which receives little or nothing from the federation account, can proudly parade outstanding infrastructural development projects and life-transforming programs and initiatives, how can Rivers explain its continued backwardness? God will judge our leaders, not in heaven or hell but here on earth. God bless my Rivers State!

Ifeanyi writes from Abuja. He can be reached at [email protected]

My helicopters story: Amaechi

Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi has given his side of the story on how two Bell helicopters imported by the Rivers State government ended up being seized by the Customs Service and handed over to the Nigerian Air Force.

Amaechi was the governor of the state when the helicopters were ordered.

A twist occurred when they arrived, he said.

He accused former President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Nyesom Wike of blocking the government of Rivers State from taking possession of the helicopters.

In a statement by his media office, Amaechi said when he took over as Governor of Rivers State, criminals masquerading as militants, kidnappers and other elements were on the prowl in Rivers State.

Among measures to combat the menace was the purchase of the helicopters.

Based on recommendation of security experts, he said his administration bought the two Bell 412 security surveillance helicopters in collaboration with the Federal Government through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

“To show their support, the Federal government through the office of the NSA contributed $15million, about half of the total sum, towards the purchase of the helicopters.

“Also, the then former President Goodluck Jonathan administration granted waivers to the Rivers State government to purchase and import the helicopters,” Amaechi said.

The minister said trouble started many months later when the Jonathan administration allegedly frustrated attempts to take possession of the helicopters.

“It was obvious why the President Goodluck Jonathan administration acted the way it did and Nyesom Wike, the present Governor of Rivers State was an integral part, a major player in the whole conspiracy to block and prevent Rivers State government from taking possession of the helicopters.

“Then, as a minister in President Jonathan’s cabinet, Wike inundated President Jonathan with fake stories of how then Governor Amaechi wanted to use the helicopters for Presidential campaigns against Jonathan, how Amaechi will use the helicopters to support President Jonathan’s opponents before and during the presidential elections and all sorts of concocted tales that created a false impression that the Amaechi government in Rivers State would use the helicopters against and to fight President Jonathan, and not to secure lives and property.

“Wike then, was already nursing the ambition to run for the office of Governor of Rivers State. He didn’t care about the security of lives and property.

“The helicopters were procured by the Amaechi administration to curb the wanton menace of criminals in the State (which has since worsened under Wike’s watch), but in his usual habit, Governor Wike has decided to abandon and dump the helicopters, because he does not care about the safety and security of lives and property in the State. Sad, very sad, ”Amaechi said.

But Governor Nyesom Wike, in a counter statement by his media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, said: “The immediate past Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, could not provide the people of Rivers State with good governance that was why he had to recourse to the purchase of Armoured Helicopters.

“Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has no need for Armoured helicopters because he has provided the good people of Rivers State with good governance and they are happy with him.

“In any case, Rivers State is not at war with any country, hence there is no need for armoured helicopters.

“Governor Wike will continue to deliver good governance to the Rivers people. This has led to the improvement of security, despite the evil political machinations of Amaechi and his cohorts.”

NAN

Rivers Rerun: Police Force Fires Wike’s Aides, to Prosecute Them

The Nigerian Police Force has sacked six officers, all aides of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who violated clear instructions during the 10 December, 2016 legislative rerun elections in Rivers State. These officers will also be prosecuted for electoral offences.
The dismissed officers, Inspr. Eyong Victor, Sgt Peter Ekpo, Sgt Oguni Goodluck, Sgt. Orji Nwoke, Sgt. Okpe Ezekiel and Sgt. Tanko Akor, reportedly breached rules handed over by the High Command urging them to be of good conduct and desist from escorting their principals to polling units throughout the period of the election.

Force Public Relations officer and deputy commissioner of police, Don Nwunah in a statement today said the blatant breach of the rules by the sacked officers was “unacceptable by all standards in the Force.”
“These acts, if not checked can be inimical to discipline and proper administration of the Force. Their actions are capable of bringing the entire Nigeria Police Force to disrepute and portray the Force in a very bad light as a lawless organization not guided by the rule of law”, Nwunah said.
The “Police personnel while in the convoy of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State Barr. Nyesom Wike on the date of election, 10th December, 2016 misused the firearms in their possession contrary to the provisions of Force Order 237. “The Service personnel became overzealous, took laws into their hands and opened fire, causing panic in the crowd. They joined in storming the Port Harcourt City Council Secretariat and prevented the movement of election results of Emouha polling unit to the appropriate collation centre designated by INEC, in flagrant disregard and disobedience to senior Police officers present at the venue.
“The six Police officers, after the conclusion of investigation into this public mischief, were subjected to internal disciplinary measures, found guilty and consequently dismissed from the Force. They will be prosecuted under the Electoral Act to serve as a deterrent to others”, he added.

Wike: Niger Deltans Will Not Seek To Divide Nigeria

Leaders and people of Nigeria will always strive to defend the unity of Nigeria, because to them, the country remaining as one indivisible entity is ‘non negotiable’ and of paramount importance, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said.

Speaking in Sokoto when he paid a visit to Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad at his palace, Wike said the interest of Nigerians and Africans will be better served with Nigeria remaining as one ‘strong and united nation.’

Said he: “Let me first of all sincerely thank you, our father the Sultan, for what you are doing for this country, working tirelessly to ring peace and to bring unity to the people. So for all of us this is what is meant by one Nigeria.

“We cannot run away from this country. The unity of this country is very, very paramount. The unity of this country is non-negotiable. I am from the Niger Delta, from Rivers State to be specific so I cannot see us in a divided country. No way. We stand for the unity of this country,” Wike added.

According to the Governor, his administration has put a lot of time, resources and energy to protect national assets especially the ones in Rivers State.

“In Rivers you hardly find pipeline vandalisation. We are working at all times to protect national assets in our state. In my state, I am governor for all the people living in the state. I am not a governor of a particular political party, but a governor for all the people of Rivers State.”

While commending the Sultan for his leadership of the Muslim community in Nigeria, Wike said he was in Rivers to felicitate with his colleague, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who gave out his daughter in marriage on Saturday.

He equally dispelled the notion that his relationship with Tambuwal had political connotation, saying has been his friend for a long time, “long before politics defined who we are now.”

“Tambuwal is my friend for a long time. If anything affects him, it affects me also. If he gives out his daughter in marriage, I have to be here to support him. If any problem happens to him, it affects me as well.

“Your Eminence I am here to seek your royal blessing. You have blessed me before, that is why I am growing. So let me wish you a prosperous new year ahead,” he added.

In their remarks, both the host Governor and Sultan implored Nigerians to live in peace with one another, and wished their countrymen and women a year full of happiness and blessings.

Lessons From Rivers Re-Run Elections, By Sunday Eze

Stakeholders in the just concluded Rivers National and State Assembly re-run elections are failed students of history. We all have learnt nothing and are not willing to develop and improve on our democratic space. Expectedly, the re-run election was a theatre of war and of the absurd too. There were uninhibited access to inducements and incidents of ballot box snatching, free for all thumb printing from both sides of the major political parties, intimidation and total war. It was a do-or die affair which expectedly came with so much trouble, irregularities, complaints, accusations and counter- accusations.

In Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, election was postponed to the following day as a result of rampant explosion of dynamite. The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, Olisa Eloka Amadi was molested and dragged out of the collation centre like a common criminal by the military with no one to his rescue. Allegations of polling units moved to hotels and residences of politicians were rife. Armed thugs working for politicians had a field day in overwhelming defiance of over 28,000 policemen and security operatives, 20 police dogs, 28 gun boats; 18 extra Armoured Personnel Carriers and a total of 350 patrol vehicles manned by riot policemen and the Rapid Response Team with a medical team in the event of emergency.

Various checkpoints were mounted to mitigate the movement of arms and fake officers during the election. One Police Commissioner was assigned to each of the three Senatorial Zones in the state, while the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations Joshak Habila took charge of the whole operations in the state. Yet INEC will conclude two outstanding state and Federal Assembly rerun elections in Etche next year. A lot of heinous electoral crimes took place including the ruthlessly murder of DSP Mohammed Alkali while six others were said to be missing in spite of the heavy security presence and mobilisation of officers, men and materials. The elections lacked the basic ingredients of a democratic exercise and thus fell below the expected standard of free and fair contest anywhere in the world.

Reported utterances of the national and state leaderships of political parties were reflective and indicative of the brigandage that took place. It was reported that the chairman of APC John Odigie Oyegun at the grand finale of the party’s campaign hosted at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium said, “as you can see, we came in full force; the whole federal might is here and the message is simple, enough is enough, enough is enough. This is the beginning of the rescue mission in Rivers State. “We now have a blood-thirsty regime in Rivers State. I am glad with what I am hearing: if they push you, push them. If they snatch a result sheet, snatch it back.” Also addressing the rally, Rotimi Amaechi was said to have called on members of the APC not to allow members of the PDP to intimidate them during the rerun elections. He said: “This is the election of our lives. Before, I used to tell you, please, don’t fight. What I will tell you today is do not kill anybody but do not get killed. I don’t want to hear that they shot me and took away result sheets. If they take result sheets from you, collect it back from them. These were indications that violence was overtly encouraged. And it was said that a boy sent by his father to steal breaks the door with his leg.

With this, INEC was not expected to perform any magic. The commission was practically overwhelmed by the disposition of major contending political forces. It was apparently hapless and helpless.

In a terse statement issued by INEC on the situation in Rivers, it conceded to the fact that there were serious electoral infractions. “… the elections were generally peaceful and the turn-out was impressive except for Asari-Toru, Gokana, Khana, Andoni and Tai LGA. There were alleged reports of dynamite explosions in Akuku-Toru; INEC officials were attacked in Khana; electoral materials were snatched in Andoni; and our staff were prevented from conducting the elections in Tai state constituency. In a few other areas where hoodlums threatened the conduct of the exercise, the security agencies intervened and ensured that the elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.”

Journalists were deprived of exercising their constitutional of exercising their responsibilities as they were intimidated, harassed and chased out of some collation centres by the security agencies putting a dent on the transparency of the entire process. At Abonnema, security operatives ordered reporters out of the collation center.

There must be a sinister motive and or hidden agenda for sending the media packing at points of collation. It raises suspicion on the credibility and transparency when build up to announcing electoral results are shrouded in secrecy. In some instances, INEC officials were alleged to have taken instructions from security operatives. The security was said to have compromised by allowing issues to degenerate to the level it had only to intervene on those it has vested interest in.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) led by one DSP Akin Fakorede was said to have allegedly molested the Emohua L.G.A Collation Officer, Prof. Chukwudi Odekpa; inflicting sever injuries on him for refusing to do his bidding, yet in the pool of his blood Odekpa persevered in his responsibilities as seen in various social media. The police should take note of the sundry allegations against Fakorede, others and apply appropriate sanctions. Prof. Odekpa reserves the right to seek appropriate redress against Fakorede, the police and INEC in the court of law for threat to his life, breach of his fundamental human rights and negligence respectively.

Security agencies especially the military which has no assigned constitutional role in election matters arrogated upon itself a questionable task depending on the party or individuals it was commissioned to work for. The role of the military was roundly condemned by APC in 2015 before the general elections especially as it related to Ekiti elections. However, it was surprisingly reported that some APC stalwarts employed the services of the military in that elections. Pundits suggests that as soldiers become deeply involved in determining who gets what in elections, the institution may be tempted to once again crave to taste the sweet pie of governance.

It would be recalled that the governor of Rivers state Nyesom Wike raised security concerns before the elections without the authorities concerned acting to nip the troubles in the bud. The governor in an interview described the exercise as unfortunate maintaining that PDP will not accept a fraudulent election. “I anticipated it. I tried to let the world know that these are the plans of the security agencies. In my entire political career, I have never experienced this kind of invasion by security agencies. What causes violence is when you give certain persons undue advantage. Be assured that we are resisting it; it may take our lives, but we will resist to the last. That is what is expected when you are fighting for freedom. You must make sacrifices. He said, no matter the use of the Nigerian Army and SARS personnel by the APC government, Rivers state would never be conquered.”

From all intent and purposes, the election results will be contested afterwards. It is no longer easy to steal the peoples mandate and get away with it. Youths were seen escorting electoral materials and even daring the security agencies said to have compromised to try their patience. Electoral offences persist in Nigeria because those who perpetuated them always go scot-free. Some are even occupying exalted public offices in the three arms of government. Stakeholders in elections must submit to peace and ensure conviviality for elections to thrive. The security agencies and INEC must also be seen to be transparent, impartial and neutral in all circumstances to guarantee confidence building in the electoral processes.

There must be a winner and loser in every contest, therefore, candidates should willingly accept defeat in humility. Political party leadership should be civil and also guard their utterances which provides basis for party supporters’ behaviour before, during and after elections. The army of unemployed youths financially induced to deface the electoral process should resist the temptation of being the clogs in the wheel of our electoral processes. Appropriate sanctions should be meted to any officials of all the stakeholders in the electoral process found to have aided and abetted electoral offences to serve as a deterrent to others.

Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, is a Media and Communications Specialist.