About three days after a total of 21 constituencies went into elections in Rivers State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is yet to announce final results for most of the areas.
On Saturday, December 10, 2016, INEC conducted the rescheduled Rivers national and state assemblies rerun and supplementary elections across three senatorial districts, eight federal constituencies and 10 state constituencies.
The voting exercise – and later counting of votes and collation of results – took place amid widespread violence that claimed lives, including police officers, irregularities and ‘overt’ bias by security operatives and electoral personnel, reports by the media and observer groups say.
Of the 21 constituencies, as of early Tuesday, results are only known for 10 – the three senatorial districts, four federal constituencies and three state constituencies.
PDP Surpasses APC In Senatorial Contests
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, won senatorial elections in the Rivers East and Rivers West districts, leaving one, Rivers South East senatorial district, for the All Progressives Congress, APC.
In Rivers South East, APC’s Magnus Abe clinched victory to earn a second term in the Senate. He polled 125,938 votes to trounce Olaka Nwogu of the PDP who garnered 25,394 votes, INEC said. The district witnessed cases of violence and irregularities with security operatives caught on video snatching election materials in Bodo, Gokana LGA and two persons dead in Luwii, Tai LGA amid gunfight.
Rivers East result was declared on Monday afternoon after confrontation between PDP members led by Governor Nyesom Wike and security operatives at the collation centre in Port Harcourt. There, PDP’s George Sekibo scored 93,098 votes to defeat APC’s Andrew Uchendu who had 34,193 votes. Arch rivals, Mr. Wike and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, APC leader and Minister for Transport, are from Rivers East.
Shortly after return was made in Rivers East Monday afternoon, INEC announced Osinakachukwu Ideozu of the PDP winner in Rivers West, bringing PDP’s senatorial seats to two. Mr Ideozu scored 107,166 votes. He defeated Otelemaba Amachree of the APC who garnered 48,898 votes.
Parties reject opposing victories
PDP rejected the election of Mr. Abe as Rivers South East Senator-elect, saying there was no election in the zone; rather, INEC, Army and the Police aided APC to earn victory. The rejection came after Mr. Abe had urged PDP to accept his election, having been declared winner by INEC already. He said “Rivers people have suffered enough.”
But APC also vowed to legally challenge Mr. Sekibo’s election in the Rivers East. On Monday, Dakuku Peterside, an APC leader and NIMASA boss who was the party’s flag bearer in the 2015 governorship election, told journalists that results had not been conclusively collated in Etche, Port Harcourt City and Emohua LGAs, yet PDP was announced winner even without APC’s agent present.
FOUR FEDERAL CONSTITUENCIES SO FAR
APC candidates – Barry Mpigi and Maurice Pronen – were declared winners of elections to represent Tai/Oyigbo/Eleme and Gokana/ Khana federal constituencies respectively in the Federal House of Representatives.
Mr. Mpigi scored 48,760 votes to defeat PDP’s Jacobson Nbina with 11,737 votes, while Mr. Pronen had 68,219 votes to defeat Dum Dekor with 20,329.
In Okrika/Ogu/Bolo federal constituency, PDP claimed its first Reps seat in the rerun elections. PDP’s Gogo Tamuno with 11,668 voted defeated APC’s Maureen Tamuno who had 5,995.
Also, PDP’s Boma Goodhead won the Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru federal constituency. In the result announced by the Returning Officer on Monday at in Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru LGA, Ms. Goodhead, said to be a younger sister to ex-militant, Asari Dokubo, scored 39,444 votes, to defeat APC’s Dewari George who had 8,817 votes.
Mr. Dokubo was said to have mobilised some supporters to the collation centre to demand result be announced after initial delay. Mr. Dokubo later joined his sister on street jubilation.
Eight federal constituencies went into the rerun and supplementary polls. With outcomes in four now declared – PDP and APC taking two each – results from the remaining four are being expected.
Ikwere/Emohua, Opobo/Nkoro/Andoni, Degema/Bonny, and Etche/Omuma federal constituencies are the remaining four from which final results are still being expected
STATE ASSEMBLY SEATS
It is only in three state constituencies that final results have been declared, with APC winning two, and PDP one.
In Khana state constituency II, APC’s Friday Nkeeh scored 15,000 votes to defeat PDP’s Dinebari Loolo who had 4,000 votes. Both winner and loser had round figures! In Gokana state constituency, APC’s Innocent Barikor won with 24,624 votes.
Bonny state constituency was won by the PDP. The party’s Abinye Pepple scored 6,610 to win the seat.
Thus, final results by INEC are being expected from seven state constituencies namely Eleme, Asari-Toru I, Asari-Toru II, Andoni,, Etche II, Ikwere, and Degema.
Summarily, out of the 10 constituencies where results have been released so far, PDP and APC have five each. PDP has two senatorial seats, two Reps seats and one State Assembly seat, while APC has one senatorial seat, two Reps seats and two State Assembly seats.
The rerun polls were held following invalidation of the 2015 national and state assemblies elections in Rivers State. Although the elections had earlier been slated for March 19, violence marred the polls then, forcing INEC to suspend the exercise – and finally held during the week.
Rivers State has notorious history of electoral violence, and tough talks by opposing political actors helped stoke tension and prepare ground for violence that characterised the electoral exercise in the state on Saturday.
At least five persons lost their lives, but previous elections recorded greater tragedies. Although there were cases of overt bias, huge deployment of military and security personnel for the Saturday’s elections helped improve the security of exercise.