Rivers Guber Poll: Army Lied, INEC Tells Tribunal
SAN FRANCISCO, September 28, (THEWILL) – As the sitting of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja continueson Tuesday, the tribunal was told on Monday that the Nigerian Army lied in its claim that the April 11 governorship election in the state was marred by violence.
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which stated this at the resumed sitting of the tribunal said contrary to the claims by some soldiers who earlier testified before the Justice Ambrosa Suleiman-led tribunal that there was no election in the state, the governorship election actually held.
All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, are challenging the result of the election which declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Nyesom Wike, winner.
Based on Peterside's petition, the tribunal had summoned the Nigerian Army to produce some of its men deployed to the state for the election to testify.
Four officers who appeared before the tribunal, in their separate evidence, had claimed that the election was marred by violence.
But at the resumed sitting, Monday, INEC produced eight witnesses, all Presiding Officers who conducted the election, and they all faulted the claims of the Nigerian Army.
The INEC officials, who backed their claims with evidence, showing result sheets from the different areas they manned, told the tribunal that they resorted to manual accreditation of voters when the Card Reader Machines failed to work.
Also tendering the incidence forms filled by those whom the card reader machines could not recognise their voter cards, the INEC witnesses said they personally submitted the result sheets at the collation centres.
Responding to cross-examination by counsel to the petitioners, Chief Akinolu Olujimi, SAN, one of the witnesses said: “My Lords, there was no incident of shooting or thugs carting away election materials. Any Army (soldier) that came before this tribunal to testify that there was violence is telling lies.
“As the presiding officer, I was there from the beginning of the election to the end. There was no soldier at the polling unit, the only security agents we saw were police and civil defence and there were all without arms.”