The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has downplayed the face-off between his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Port Harcourt, the state capital, as “nothing that is abnormal”.
While requesting the inspection of electoral materials deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the March 18 governorship election, the APC has alleged attacks by thugs operating on the orders of the PDP.
However, the ruling party in the state has been engaged in protests for about a week, stating that INEC should release the electoral materials to APC for inspection only if the PDP is also present.
Wike, who hosted a live media chat in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, stated that PDP was simply being on alert to avoid a recurrence of an incident in the aftermath of the 2015 elections.
“There is nothing that is abnormal that you think that is going on in Port Harcourt. What PDP is doing is just to be vigilant,” he said.
“Vigilant in the sense that during the 2015 [post-election period] precisely, after the elections, after the nomination, we had problems that we never believed, and so we didn’t want a recurrence of that at the tribunal.”
The governor said the PDP was shocked that the police tendered original results at the tribunal, rather that CTCs of the original.
“Everybody was shocked: ‘How would the police tender original results?’ And INEC had their own certified true copies. INEC tendered their own,” he said.
“To our greatest surprise, the court accepted the police’s original results. It was surprising to us, down to the Court of Appeal and we have seen this happen several times. Remember what happened in Imo State.”
According to him, Rivers PDP needs to be “extra vigilant”.
He argued that since every party is entitled to the documents that were used in conducting elections, having applied to INEC, the PDP needs to ensure it is receiving what others are.
“And we now said to INEC, ‘We will know whether what you’re giving to us is what you’re giving to these parties. Note all the parties and sign for it, so we’ll know that you’re giving exactly the same you have given to these people.’
“But we don’t want what happened last time to reoccur. You can’t have two Michaels at the same time. So, all these things you are hearing that the APC is shouting is because they know that game they played the last time, we will not allow it to happen again,” Wike said.