As the May 29 handover date draws near, fresh controversy over the election results has been ignited between the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.
According to two online portals, Premium Times and Sahara Reporters, the governorship elections in the two states were flawed. Both websites reported that the votes cast were more than the number of voters accredited by card readers in the states.
While the PDP in Rivers State insisted that the online report was not true, the APC said the report was true and factual.
The reports specifically indicated that while the Independent National Electoral Commission announced the PDP governorship candidate, Nyesom Wike, as the winner of the April 11, poll with 1,029,102 votes, only 292,878 voters were accredited for the election in the state.
Speaking in separate interviews with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, accused the APC of sponsoring reports against his party.
Nwanosike explained that the that the PDP would not panic adding that the party would emerge victorious at the tribunal.
Nwanosike said, “What makes up accredited voters are those cards that were verified, authenticated and those that were verified and not authenticated. If the card is verified and authenticated, it would read in the machine as being successful.
“If a card is verified as INEC card and it is not authenticated, it would show red; it would decline. At that point, INEC said one should use the incident form to accredit the person. A lot of such incidents happened and people used incident forms to get accredited and vote.”
But the State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Chris Finebone, dismissed PDP’s claim that the online report was false, adding that his party decided not to immediately put the information on the conflicting figures of the governorship election in the state in public domain.
He told SUNDAY PUNCH that the INEC in Abuja had obliged the legal team of the state APC the information that was recently published by the online platforms.
Finebone pointed out that the PDP rigging machine was good at everything, but lacked the sense of Mathematics, adding that it was clear, even to a toddler that ‘some fellows’ awarded figures to themselves.
He said, “Because of the position we occupy, some of us are not expected to put out certain information just like that. But I am happy that this information has gone viral. But I can assure you that we knew this close to two weeks ago when the information was obliged our legal team.
“The legal team of the State APC was privy to this information that is currently online. But we have our systematic way of managing information, especially critical information like this. That was why you probably did not hear it from us.”
When contacted to react to the online report, the State INEC Public Relations Officer, Antonia Nwobu, told our correspondent that she had not read the report.
Nwobu, however, promised to react to the matter as soon as she read it.
In Akwa Ibom, the hierarchy of the APC said they were aware of the situation and had already taken some steps, one of which was to notify the party top echelon including the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
In text messages to SUNDAY PUNCH, APC chairman, Dr. Amadu Atai; said the matter came to the fore during a visit of Akwa Ibom State delegation to Buhari, in Abuja in May 7, to congratulate him over his election victory.
“For instance, data obtained from INEC head office in Abuja show that the total number of accredited voters captured by card readers for the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom State was 437,128, but the figure declared by the state INEC office was 1,122,836,” Atai said.
However, calls and text messages to the Commissioner of Information, Mr. Aniekan Umanah and the PDP Governorship Campaign Publicity Director, Udom Ekarette Udo and the State Chairman, Paul Ekpo were not responded to.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC chairman, Kayode Idowu, replied via e-mail “I think these are posers best directed to the tribunal with requisite evidence,” he said.