Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has insisted that this year’s elections in Rivers state were credible and that the commission did the right thing by announcing the winner.
Recall that the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Hon. Rotimi Ameachi, and the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had been on the fore-front in expressing dissatisfaction with the 2015 general elections as witnessed in Rivers State, alleging all manner of irregularities.
The ex-governor had categorically likened the April 11 election which produced Barr. Nyesom Wike as governor to a daylight robbery, while the APC has charged him to be ready to vacate office soon since its candidate, Dakuku Peterside was already challenging the outcome of the election in court.
Jega was quoted in Washington, DC during a conversation with US policy makers, think-tanks and members of the international community, asserting that allegations that the elections in Rivers State were manipulated and flawed was exaggerated.
The event, which had the theme: ‘Nigeria’s 2015 Elections: What Have We Learnt?’ was hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and anchored by Jenniffer Cooke, Director, African Programme at the institute.
“Rivers has become quite a big issue, and we did our best to be able to have enough evidence to make an informed decision before results were returned. We received reports of fake results sheets, use of photocopied result sheet, substitution of trend of INEC personnel and allegation of no election taking place in some polling units.
“It came before we announced the results, so we immediately constituted a three-man team made up of national commissioners to go to Rivers State and investigate the allegations.
“It was not true that elections did not take place in majority part of the state, in fact the evidence was that in the overwhelming majority election took place in most areas.
“It wasn’t true that there were fake result sheets, there were no photocopied results sheets, there was no substantive evidence to support the wild allegations.
“From our investigations we were satisfied that there was no substantive evidence to cancel the elections as agitated by some people, we also have people on ground and observers like TMG, and others who also gave us honest report about what happened.
“I don’t think there were massive irregularities as reported in Rivers State, my advice is that they should go to the tribunal, if they have evidence, On our own part we have done our thorough investigation.”
“We have scanned 95 percent of the results sheets from all the polling units and we will put them on our site once we get to 100 per cent.”