TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the weekend, maintained that the Rivers State governorship election on March 9, 2019, witnessed voting at the polling units, with the declaration of results at the polling units and ward collation centres.
According to more Local Government Electoral Officers (EOs) of INEC, the Rivers governorship election was held on the March 9, and results were announced and declared at the various polling units, wards collation centres.
Testifying at the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal during a cross-examination, INEC Electoral Officer (EO), who was in charge of Port Harcourt City Local Government, Beejay Agidiomo, said elections held across the 587 units and 20 wards in the LGA. He said the results were declared at the units and wards.
Answering questions from the counsel for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), J. Y. Musa, (SAN), the Port Harcourt EO said that INEC followed all the electoral guidelines.
He said that no INEC official was arrested or questioned for illegal activities during the 2019 governorship election in Port Harcourt because it was free and fair.
Agidiomo also confirmed that electoral materials were distributed to all the pulling units and wards and there was no destruction of electoral materials on election day.
Responding to a question by Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), counsel for Governor Nyesom Wike, the EO for Port Harcourt City Local Government Area stressed that: “Voting, counting, collation and declaration took place on the March 9, 2019 at his LGA”.
Also testifying at the tribunal, EO for Andoni Local Government Area, Austine Nwana, said elections took place in all the 137 pulling units and 11 wards of Andoni LGA.
He said: “I can confirm to you that elections took place in all the pulling units and wards in Andoni”.
He said contrary to claims by one ADP witness, Jacob Friday, that elections were disrupted in wards 4 and 9 of Andoni Local Government Area; the Electoral Officer stated that elections held in the two wards.
He said votes that were recorded at the end of the governorship election in Andoni Local Government Area were in line with the voting pattern of March 9, 2019.
In his testimony, INEC EO, who was in charge of Oyigbo Local Government Area, Francis Akarakpa, admitted that elections took place in Oyigbo LGA on March 9, Rivers governorship election.
But, he noted that after the collation of results, the PDP agent refused to sign the result sheet, while the African Action Congress (AAC) agent signed at the collation centre.
The Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal under the chairmanship of Justice J.A. Orjiako adjourned sitting to July 23, for the continuation of cross-examination in the petition filed by Mr Victor Fingesi of the ADP.
It would be recalled that last Thursday, five INEC EOs stated that the governorship election on March 9, was conducted in line with the Electoral Act and INEC guidelines.