Fresh facts emerged yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital,on how President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife, Dame Patience, influenced the April 11 governorship election for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)standard bearer, Nyesom Wike.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the poll’s results at about 4am yesterday. Wike polled 1,029,102 to beat the Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 124,896 votes.
A source revealed that Mrs. Jonathan, an indigene of Okrika, the headquarters of Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, took undue advantage of her husband’s position to undermine the electoral process in Rivers State.
President Jonathan voted in his Otuoke country home in Bayelsa State without the First Lady. He arrived at his polling unit where he voted at the State Assembly election in the company of his mother, Eunice.
Mrs. Jonathan has relocated to Okrika in the evening of April 10 to ensure victory for her political godson and former education minister.
According to the source, President Jonathan was opposed to proposals to manipulate the process to pave the way for Wike’s victory, a position the source alleged, never went well with the First Lady.
An unconfirmed source said the First Lady was unhappy that the President conceded defeat after losing the March 28 election to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the APC without putting up a fight.
It was learnt that the First Lady decided to sacrifice her vote in Otuoke for the trip to Okrika to see Wike to victory.
Dame Jonathan allegedly summoned the leadership of the Rivers State Police obtained commitment from the police to support her in the manipulation of the electoral process in favour of the PDP.
The officers and men of the Command assured the First Lady of their support, a source claimed.
When the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Zone 6, Calabar, Tunde Ogunsakin, an ex-Rivers Commissioner of Police, who supervises Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Ebonyi States, arrested a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) with electoral materials in Rivers, the First Lady immediately intervened by calling his husband.
The source disclosed that President Jonathan quickly got across to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Suleiman Abba, and directed him to order Ogunsakin out of Rivers State. The AIG returned to his Calabar base at about 5am on April 11.
Efforts to get the First Lady’s reaction proved abortive as calls made to her Glo line were unanswered as at press time.
The Rivers PDP governorship candidate and his allies are also panicking over the likely cancellation of the polls in the state.
One of Wike’s close associates sent a text message to a frontline journalist in Port Harcourt to know if there was a move by the INEC headquarters in Abuja to cancel the flawed elections and fix a new date for a rerun.
The Rivers Chairman of the APC, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, also decried the senseless killing of 19 members of his party on Saturday. He pushed the polls cancellation.
Ikanya, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, through his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Public Affairs, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, described the governorship and House of Assembly elections and the announcement of fake results as tragedy.
The Rivers APC chairman said: “What took place was a macabre dance of intimidation and violence, perpetrated against the peace-loving APC members, after which results were written in favour of Chief Nyesom Wike of the PDP. It is evident that the announcement of winners for the polls is a travesty of justice and a rape of democracy.
“We insist that the purported governorship and House of Assembly elections be cancelled in their totality and a new date set for proper polls, as prescribed by law. We hope that INEC will enforce the rights of Rivers people to free, fair and credible elections, by heeding the clarion call.”
Ikanya also stated that many eligible voters were disenfranchised, as all hell was let loose throughout the state.
He accused the state chapter of the PDP of mobilising militants, who went on rampage, shooting, bombing and killing, killing no fewer than 19 APC members.
He noted that the victims were attempting to prevent the rigging plot of the PDP, in conjunction with INEC and some policemen, led by a deputy commissioner of police.
Ikanya said: “Rivers APC declares unequivocally that the elections were fraught with violence, unbridled manipulation and intimidation, while no voting took place in most parts of Rivers State.
“At Tai Local Government Area, Lekia Nkirine was shot dead, while Gbaraka Nna was shot on the neck. A PDP chieftain in the area, bought the guns, while another PDP chieftain fired the shot.
(Nkenya listed the suspected killers.)
“In Buguma, Asari-Toru Local Government Area, seven APC members were killed, with three killed and thrown into the rivers and one beheaded. Two buses and INEC office were burnt, while the house of the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Joeba West, was bombed. These exclude tens of buildings and cars that were destroyed.
“Three persons were killed at Etche Local Government Area. One was killed in Ikwerre Local Government Area. Two APC members were murdered at Egbeda Ward I of Emouha Local Government Area, while Hon. Chidi Lloyd, the leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, was beaten to a pulp, while attempting to prevent the rigging of the elections in his constituency.
“In Obga/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, there were at least five reported deaths, namely: Obinna Ndubuoke, Jeophat Kingdom, Ndidi Ebere, Sydney Wokocha and Hon. Clever Orukwowu (APC Youth Leader).”
Ikanya stated that among the persons injured by the blood-thirsty PDP thugs was; Evangelist Faith, who was beaten to a pulp at Dere in Andoni Local Government Area, with her whereabouts remaining unknown and Alifor Onyeso, who was shot by armed thugs, led by a lawmaker from Omuma constituency in the Rivers House of Assembly.
The APC chairman insisted that on April 11, in most parts of the state, voters were disenfranchised, intimidated and harassed, with outright manipulation of the already-announced results at the various units.
He said: “There was no election in Rivers State on April 11 and anyone who says otherwise is an enemy of this state. We had vigorously campaigned for the redeployment of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in the state, Mrs. Gesila Khan, because of her well-known support for the PDP, but our cries were ignored.
“Now, what we feared has happened – even worse than we feared. We cannot in all honesty accept the results announced, either for the governorship or state’s House of Assembly elections.”
Ikanya pleaded with INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to save Rivers State from doom, by cancelling the purported elections and rescheduling them.