Friday, 4 September 2015

Rivers Elections: Witnesses Tell Why Elections Did Not Hold

The Rivers state governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja was on Thursday, September 3, told that the April 11 2015 governorship election conducted in the state did not hold in some polling units.

The disclosure was made by eight witnesses, who said the presidential poll and the governorship elections were full of abnormalities, The Guardian reports.

The witnesses testified before the tribunal during a cross-examination carried out by the counsels to Independent National Electoral Commission, Governor Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party.

There had been the contestation of Wike’s victory by the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside before the tribunal seeking to nullify the declaration based on the fact that the elections were filled with irregularities and fraudulent practices.

The APC collation officer in Akukatalu local government area, Jack Tamunosaki said during cross-examination that there was no election in the 13 polling units in Ward 12 where he monitored.

Tamunosaki said that he did not see any election materials at the centre where they were supposed to be displayed. He also alleged that there was shooting and explosion of dynamites in some of the polling units in Abolima.

The witness further claimed before the court that there was also no accreditation of voters during the governorship poll.

John Lekova-Kootte, another witness who was also a collation officer testified for the APC and said that the result sheets were not declared openly for the officers at the centre to see.

He said that the election materials for the ward he supervised were removed to unknown destination by some PDP officials, adding that there was no collation at the centre.

Other collation officers who were also witnesses at the tribunal also claimed that materials like ballot papers, result sheets and ballot boxes were not made public and alleged that there were hired thugs on ground intimidating voters.

They added that most of the INEC ad-hoc staff members were card carrying members of the PDP.

However, two collation officers of the APC, Jas Nyone and Charlie Krukrubo testified that election materials were distributed at their polling units after 2p.m. They also said that the police officers present at the polling units could not stop the thugs who disrupted the elections.

The APC had accused INEC of conspiring with the state PDP to hinder the course of justice in the election petitions it filed at the tribunal challenging the Rivers elections outcome.