Senator Magnus Abe, All Progressives Congress(APC) candidate for Rivers South East Senatorial District in the legislative re-run election, has said that the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) did not do the APC a favour in releasing the Tai election results rather it did the needful.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Port Harcourt, Abe said that INEC righted the injustice meted to APC by the cancellation, as the election in Tai local government area was conducted, collated and returned by the returning officers, thereby making the results valid.
He said the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) acted outside his powers that was why the INEC national revalidated the results.
“What was the reason or excuse given for the rejection of the Tai results? It was because the Resident Electoral Commissioner said that he had cancelled Tai LGA. From the Federal Commissioner on Thursday, she declared that the REC has no such power to cancel an election without consulting with the returning officer and those in the field”, he said.
Speaking further, Abe said the results in Tai LGA before it was cancelled by the REC, was certified by the law enforcement agencies such as the police and DSS.
He said it was even the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the REC did a favour.
He pointed out that INEC declared five seats in the state for PDP in such circumstances that were not right and against the guidelines of INEC.
He cited cases where the number of registered voters who did not vote were more than the margin of win between the two parties yet INEC declared those seats in favour of PDP.
In addition, he said there were instances of backdating of results.
“You had a situation where results were declared and then backdated so that it makes it impossible for the APC candidates that were robbed to even go to court. All this injustice was perpetrated against the APC in broad day light and nobody said anything. When we complained, we were asked to go to court. In the same manner, one would have expected that Tai results which had been properly collated and declared would have also been announced and any other party who was aggrieved should have been asked to go to court”.
Abe said the reason why the REC cancelled the election was to please Governor Nyesom Wike and the PDP in order to effect the-stop-Senator-Abe-by-all-means campaign mounted by the governor.
“Nigerians need to be clear that INEC did not do the APC any favour. What was done instead is that an obvious injustice that was done to us because Governor Wike and the PDP had sworn to stop me by all means and we have 35,000 votes there. He was simply doing it to block the 35,000 votes from counting in our favour and that clearly was an injustice, which has now, been corrected. I have challenged anybody to mention one favour that INEC has done for the APC in Rivers State. But I can mention more than 8 clear favours including dashing seats for free to the PDP that has happened in Rivers State and nobody is saying anything about it. So, all we are asking for is that there should be a level playing field and people should be fairly treated. The attack on the federal commissioner was because she made the points that they should take decision based on the law. The one that favoured PDP, they didn’t complain about it. They took a decision in favour of PDP in Ikwerre and Degema LGAs, they didn’t complain. Everybody knows that what happened in Degema was wrong. But all that PDP is focused on is Tai LGA, why? Because of Senator Abe”.
The former Secretary to Rivers State Government said the REC was subservient to the governor such that the governor wrote a letter requesting for the postponement of the election for which INEC granted without consulting other parties.
“The postponement of this election was at the instance of Governor Wike. He wrote to INEC to postpone the election. If it was APC that had written a letter to postpone the election,there would have been mayhem all over, but, he wrote to postpone the elections and the elections have been postponed without consulting with us and we have not said anything. We have not abuse INEC. We have not said it is because of any relationship between Wike and INEC. We have held our peace and respected the power of INEC as an institution to take decisions that sometimes may not be pleasing to us but which is within their power to do so”.
PARRY SAROH BENSON
Spokesperson to Senator Magnus Abe
August 20, 2016