INEC opens defence in Rivers gov election petition

Acting Chairman, INEC Amina Zakari

Acting Chairman, INEC Amina Zakari

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday opened its defence in the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Dakuku Peterside, challenging the declaration of Governor Nyesom Wike as winner of the April 1, 2015 election in Rivers State.

The Electoral Officer for Obio /Akpor Local Council, Ebikoro Tebekaemi, who testified yesterday before the Justice Suleiman Ambursa-led Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja, maintained that the poll was credible, peaceful and conformed to the Electoral Act.

While tendering relevant documents to substantiate his claim, Tebekaemi noted that the electoral umpire used card readers and manual means in accrediting voters for the exercise in the council.

According to him, of the 304,745 total accredited voters, card readers accounted for 40,281 of them.

The INEC official said that the distribution of election materials and actual voting took place under a peaceful environment with security provided safeguarded by the police, the army and other concerned agencies, adding that while the election lasted, no incident of ballot and electoral material snatching nor clash between INEC staff and thugs was brought to his notice.

Tebekaemi denied allegation by the state chapter All Progressives Congress (APC) that INEC officials colluded with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and security agents to engage in multiple thumb printing and other forms of electoral malpractices.

He added that it was untrue that security agents arrested a bus conveying electoral materials and INEC staff to an unauthorised destination, insisting that no such report was brought to his knowledge.

Tebekaemi said enough voting materials were distributed to all wards in the council.

He further informed that of the 17 wards, the poll held successfully in 15, adding that the only two wards where the exercise did not hold were Wards 12 and 13.

The matter was adjourned till today for further defence by the electoral body.

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