By Codratus Godson
Local Government Electoral Officers (EOs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) have confirmed that Governorship Election held in all the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State.
Testifying at the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal on Thursday, Five INEC Electoral Officers stated that the Governorship Election on March 9, 2019 was conducted in line with the Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines.
Speaking during a cross examination by African Democratic Party (ADP) lawyer, Dolapo Tella-Attoni, INEC Electoral Officer for Okrika, Okemanu Clems Okechukwu , stated that the election held in all the 12 wards of the LGA.
He noted that the result sheets from all the wards were signed by him and transmitted to the INEC office at the state level.
Also answering questions from 2nd Respondent (Governor Nyesom Wike) lawyer, Okey Wali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Okemanu Clems Okechukwu noted that “materials were received and results announced at various polling units. The results were properly signed by INEC and party agents present”.
Also testifying before the Justice J A Orjiako led panel, Patrick Uzoka, Electoral Officer for Degema Local Government Area, stated that result sheets from the polling units of the wards in the LGA were signed and recorded by INEC officials on duty.
Reacting on question of violence in the area during the election, he said “I did not get report from any party agents that the results announced were concocted and I did not also receive any report of violence during the election.”
He noted that some units were cancelled and added that he did not notice presence of an ADP agent at the collation centre.
Ijeoma Obari, Election Officer for Omuma LGA, told the Tribunal that no official or party agents made any lawful allegation against the governorship election as regards to Omuma.
He added “We conducted ourselves in accordance with guidelines issued by INEC.”
INEC Electoral Officer of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, David Edak stated that the Governorship Election in the area was conducted under a peaceful atmosphere. He said that the voting was devoid of violence.
Electoral Officer for Ikwerre Local Government Area , Stephen Koko Bassey said that the Governorship Election held peacefully in the area.
Speaking with journalists outside the courtroom, Dr Garba Tetengi (SAN), Attorney for INEC, noted that five INEC witnesses testified in court. He disclosed that the commission still has seven days to present more witnesses.
“We have called five witnesses today and we will continue tomorrow. We have seven days to conclude our own witness testimonies. By our reply we have listed 24 witnesses, but from the way the petition was presented, the evidence given will decide as to the number of witnesses we will call.
“The five witnesses are all Electoral Officers of INEC in Ikwerre, Omuma, Degema, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni and Okrika Local Government Areas.”