■ Alleges PDP perfecting plan to scuttle elections
From FRED ITUA, Abuja and TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State and candidate in the forthcoming rerun election in Rivers South-east Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe has raised the alarm over alleged plans by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to scuttle the elections.
Senator Abe who spoke with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, complained that if something urgent was not done by relevant stakeholders, the upcoming rerun election may be programmed to favour the PDP.
Senator Abe said: “The surprising information is that the PDP is perfecting plans to use the court to scuttle the rerun elections. The reason we are not taking it seriously is that the judiciary will not allow itself to be used to scuttle the elections.
“Before the last two elections, we drew the attention of the people to plans by the PDP to use force to scuttle the elections. They did not believe it. Eventually, it happened.”
Senator Abe also frowned at the refusal of the leadership of Rivers State House of Assembly to swear in members of APC who won elections into the Assembly.
He said while PDP members have been sworn in, APC members on the other hand who have been issued certificates of return have been compelled to stay back at home.
He noted: “As we speak, all members of APC who won elections and were given certificates of return have not been sworn in as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly. All the APC members who won elections are still at home. They have not been sworn in. Meanwhile, all PDP members have been sworn in.
Meanwhile, the PDP, Rivers State chapter, has advised Senator Abe to submit himself for free and fair rerun election in Rivers South East Senatorial District.
State Chairman of PDP, Felix Obuah, said this yesterday through his media aide, Jerry Needam, telling Abe that there was no shortcut to victory in the senatorial district.
Obuah debunked the allegation by Abe that PDP planned to rig the rerun election, pointing out that PDP had always preached the message of a free and fair election.
“Since the release of Tai results in Rivers State, there have been frivolous allegations from the PDP. They have been accusing INEC of releasing the results. To say that INEC has done favours for APC in the declared results is the height of impunity.
“What is happening in Rivers State is impunity taken too far. The fact that the President has given the space for the opposition to have their voice does not mean they should shut out the rest. What we need in Rivers State is a level-playing ground for everyone. INEC has done too many favours to the PDP.
“The Rivers state rerun election is still in progress. Whoever is not comfortable with the eventual outcome can go to the tribunal. There is something fishing going on between the PDP and the court that Nigerians need to be aware of.”