Rivers re-run polls: Controversy trails leaked audio tape
Controversy has greeted a leaked audio recording in which a voice bearing a striking similarity with that of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, was heard admitting bribery and threatening to kill electoral officers in the December 10 rerun elections in Rivers State.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday said the leaked audio recording confirmed its worst fears that the elections were rigged.
It noted that revelations contained in the said recording, made public by an online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, on Thursday, provided evidence of alleged unwholesome practices.
The party also said the audio recording was a pointer to the fact that the governor might have compromised the integrity of the electoral process and the integrity of his office as Chief Security Officer.
This was contained in a statement signed by the APC's National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, in Abuja.
He said, 'The leaked audio recording showing the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, admitting to bribing some electoral officials and threatening to kill them if his instructions were not followed, has confirmed the fears raised by the All Progressives Congress in the countdown to the recently conducted December 10, 2016, legislative rerun elections in the State.
'Going by the revelations from the leaked audio recording, it is obvious that Governor Wike might have engaged in unwholesome conducts that might have compromised the integrity of the electoral process and undermined his office as the Chief Security Officer of a state.
'The only logical conclusion from this, therefore, is that the electoral victories of the Peoples Democratic Party might have been achieved through underhand dealings and intimidation of officials.'
The statement recalled that the APC alerted security agencies to reports of massive arm build-up and sinister plots by Wike and the PDP.
It said, 'On December 6, 2016, the APC alerted security agencies to reports of a massive arms build-up and other sinister plots that Wike and the PDP planned to execute on the day of the legislative rerun elections in Rivers State.
'Nigerians have watched with grave concern how the process of the just concluded legislative rerun elections has led to the deaths of ordinary citizens in the state, including security officers. The statement that Governor Wike appeared to have made on the record has now pointed directly at where responsibility should be placed for the violence that attended the election.'
The APC also argued that the audio recording provided evidence that the allegation by the Rivers State Government and the Peoples Democratic Party of an assassination threat on Wike and the allegation by Wike that APC governors funded violence in the state during the election might have been deliberately contrived to hide the role the governor played in the violence that attended the election.
It also urged security agencies to do the needful and ensure that the sponsors and perpetrators of violence, no matter how highly placed, were brought to justice.
But the Rivers State Government has denied the allegation that Wike threatened to kill an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Dr. Austin Tam-George, said on Thursday that the governor never made any contact with INEC officials in person or through the telephone.
Tam-George argued that the online outfit, Saharareporters.com, engaged in an audio impersonation of the governor, using a voice changer technology.
'We categorically deny these latest allegations as a sick fabrication, an outright lie. Governor Wike never made any contact with INEC officials in person or by telephone.
'Saharareporters.com is the online propaganda bullhorn of the All Progressives Congress. Their publications are typically false and the writers are professional hawkers of fiction.
'No one would have thought that the APC and its cowardly media allies would resort to an audio impersonation of Governor Nyesom Wike, using a voice changer technology.
'The voice changer technology is often used by teenagers mainly in South Korea and Japan to launch innocent technological pranks at each other, mainly for laughs.
'The APC and Saharareporters.com are inmates in the prison of their own lies. We reject the latest blackmail by the APC,' he added. - Punch.