The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) notes with disappointment the hasty decision of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to suspend Saturday’s Port Harcourt Local Government Area [PHALGA] Constituency 3 bye-election process at the collation stage. On the other hand, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state wants the APC state chairman, Flag Amachree arrestd and prosecuted on election violence matter.
The APC said is unfortunate that what should be a mere state constituency bye-election witnessed pockets of voter intimidation, harassment, vote-buying and shooting activated by the PDP in line with their usual character of rigging elections through killing and maiming of APC members.
It is worthy of note that security agents gallantly rose to the occasion and effectively quelled the pockets of violence that threatened the exercise in some wards in the constituency, leading to the eventual collation of results at the St. Andrew’s premises.
However, APC and the general public were later to be informed that INEC has suspended the process at the point of collation of results. We want to believe that the suspension is to allow INEC officials to sort itself out and conclude the process accordingly. As a political party, APC is not questioning the judgment or discretionary powers of INEC to make decisions about the bye-election, however, such decisions must strictly conform to relevant laws guiding the system and specifically do not include cancellation of a process that has commenced..
However, it is pertinent to remind INEC and reassure APC members and the public that, when it comes to any election process that has commenced, the powers of INEC end at suspension of the process for evaluation and eventual conclusion. Such powers do not include cancellation as widely and erroneously peddled. It is only the tribunal or court that can decide on the cancellation of such a process on approach by relevant stakeholders.
The APC views the wording of the memo suspending the PHALGA 3 bye-election as substantially mendacious, unnecessarily alarmist and generally convoluted with sinister innuendos by the author in a way that does not represent an accurate assessment of the process so far. We hope that INEC will not be misled to derail or embark on a line of action that will leave her with a legal bad nose. This will neither be to the benefit of INEC nor the system in any way.
In view of the need to timeously conclude the bye-election process and douse the anxiety of voters in the constituency, APC calls on INEC to swiftly and fairly do the needful and subsequently conclude the process and declare the result accordingly. It must be emphasised that INEC has no luxury of options over the matter than to audit the process up to the collation stage when the process was suspended and direct action towards bringing the process to a conclusion.
Meanwhile, the APC reassures its members in PHALGA Constituency 3 and across Rivers State to be calm and go about their normal lives as INEC has no option than to do the right thing by auditing and subsequently concluding the election process it suspended at the collation stage.
(Source: Chris Finebone, State Publicity Secretary)
The PDP said the APC has unwittingly admitted that its state chairman, Ojukaye Flag Amachree, was physically present in Port Harcourt State Constituency 3, during the suspended last Saturday’s Port Harcourt State Constituency 3 bye-election.
The PDP said the APC had since after the election which was ‘cancelled’ (rather suspended) midway by the INEC denied that Amachree was anywhere near the state capital on that election day.
The PDP said in self-contradiction, the APC in its official Twitter handle, @realAPCRivers, unwittingly claimed that Ojukaye Amachree was raised in Diobu which happens to be the nucleus of Port Harcourt (Phalga) 3 State Constituency and could not possibly be exempted from being in his neighbourhood, on that day of the bye-election.
This corroborates the allegation replete in public domain and strongly upheld by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that Ojukaye Flag Amachree, with his team of thugs aided by men and officers of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) stormed various voting units, terrorizing, coercing, driving away PDP supporters and agents, and snatching electoral materials from the electoral officers as a way of achieving electoral victory that fateful Saturday.
Rather than acknowledge the obvious breach of the electoral law and accept the responsibility of the embarrassment suffered by the public, the APC denied the unwholesome show of shame and instead, has been trying to heap the blame on INEC and the PDP.
The PDP believes that more facts as regards the aborted Saturday’s election will unfold in the coming days about the grand plot of the APC to wreck more havoc on Rivers people unless the APC is allowed to have its way.
The party (PDP) is therefore calling on the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to arrest Ojukaye Flag Amachree forthwith, and prosecute him, to avoid further breach of the peace and public order in Rivers State, which is imminent should he be allowed to be freely going about, causing more trouble unchecked.
The PDP is also surprised that Flag Amachree who is presently wanted by a court of competent jurisdiction over a murder case and consequent contempt of court is freely going about with security operatives turning a blind eye and even guarding him.
The PDP is however excited that at last, the APC has admitted that its factional chairman, Flag Amachree who has earlier claimed he was in Degema, his State constituency last Saturday, was truly in Port Harcourt which has vindicated its (PDP) position that Mr. Amachree personally led the army of thugs and touts that disrupted the Port Harcourt State Constituency 3, House of Assembly bye-election same Saturday, August 18, 2018.
(Source: Jerry Needam, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, PDP chairman)