RIVERS GOV. POLL: INEC,traditional ruler and others declare the election credible and peaceful

5th October 2015

A National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral
Commission, INEC, Dr Christopher Iyimoga has declared that the
Rivers State Governorship Election on April 11, 2015 was
peaceful, credible, free and fair.

Also on Monday, a Traditional Ruler in Orogbum in Port Harcourt
Local Government Area, Chief Dr Sunny Chinda declared the
election peaceful and credible, saying that he voted at Unit 19
Ward 2 of the council. Other voters also testified that the election
was peaceful, credible, free and fair.

Dr Iyimoga served as a member of the INEC Headquarters three -
member team that supervised the Rivers State Governorship
Election. The two other National Commissioners of INEC in that
team were Mrs Thelma Erimere and Professor Nurudeen.

He declared on Monday at the Rivers State Governorship Election
Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja that the INEC National Election
Monitoring Team for Rivers State visited six local government
areas wherein it observed that the election was peaceful and in
line with INEC guidelines and the Electoral Act.

Dr Iyimoga informed the tribunal that soldiers and operatives of
the DSS were not part of the official INEC National Monitoring
Team to Rivers State. He said only conventional policemen were
attached to the team.

He listed the six local government areas visited by the team as
follows : Port Harcourt, Obio /Akpor, Eleme, Gokana, Khana and

The INEC National Commissioner stated that the election day was
so peaceful that they saw young boys on the streets playing
football in different locations, pointing out that they would not
have been engaged in sports in a hostile environment.

He added that during the monitoring of the election in the six
local government areas, the team did not encounter any form of
shooting or snatching of election materials.

According to him, the team visited super Registration Area
Centres (RACs ) which covered several wards, where they
witnessed peaceful distribution of election materials.

He noted
that the team witnessed the process of accreditation and voting
at different times of the election day in different locations.
Commenting on Charles Okoye invited by the Rivers State APC as
Petitioner Witness (PW) 40, the INEC National Commissioner said
the witness was a travel guide to the team and therefore had no
locus to write a formal report.

The INEC National Commissioner stated that to the best of his
knowledge, no report was written by the INEC National Team as
none has been brought to his attention.

Under cross examination by counsel to Rivers State APC, Akin
Olujimi ( SAN ) , the INEC National Commissioner stated that the
commission noted that where card readers failed during the
election, incident forms should be used for accreditation.

He further stated under cross examination that he functioned as a
monitor and not as a returning officer or collation officer.

Therefore, he informed the tribunal that he should not be used to
demonstrate INEC documents meant for the said officers.

Chief Chinda who is also a consultant gynaecologist said he was
accredited via card reader. He said the election was devoid of

Another voter, Nkor Philip Abenyibari who voted at Unit 16 Ward 4
of Gokana LGA said he was accredited with the card reader and
voted in a peaceful environment. Abenyibari, a civil servant said
no soldiers came to his polling unit as the election was peaceful.

Alu Daboere who voted at Unit 8 Ward 5 of Degema LGA said that
the election was peaceful, without any for violence. Debre, a
fisherman said he was duly accredited before casting his voted.

All the voters said that they did not see soldiers at their polling
units. The voters further declared that they did not see any illegal
thumb printing of ballot papers. The voters were from three local
government areas, namely : Degema, Port Harcourt and Gokana.

Under cross examination by counsel to Rivers State APC, Akin
Olujimi, the voters wondered why the counsel would fail to invite
INEC presiding and collation officers to help him interprete INEC
documents instead of mounting pressure on voters to help him
explain the documents.


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