Scores of members and supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State were killed and maimed as the presidential and national assembly elections got underway across the country yesterday.
One of the victims, an APC member in Ward 3, Unit 2, Ogale-Eleme, was allegedly killed by a soldier attached to a prominent leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Eleme, Eleme local government area.
The deceased was among the APC members who had put up resistance to an attempt by the PDP chieftain to use soldiers guarding him to hijack electoral materials in the area.
The police later came to remove the body, even as another soldier was shot dead at Wimpey-Port Harcourt.
His death was confirmed by the Commander, 2 Brigade of the Army, Bori Camp, Brigadier General Koko Essien, although he gave no details of the killing.
However, eye witnesses said the late soldier was in a truck with his colleagues on Friday night when gunshots were unexpectedly fired at the vehicle, fatally hitting him.
Many other APC members were disenfranchised, party chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said in a statement through his spokesman, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze.
He blamed “armed militias working for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)” for the attacks.
“Scores have already been killed and several others marked for elimination. This morning (yesterday) in Kpite Town, Tai Ward 2 and other areas of the state, five people were shot dead by PDP’s armed militia, and that was before accreditation commenced,” Ikanya said in a statement to which the photographs of the victims were attached.
He said PDP and its agents targeted APC strongholds and chieftains for attacks and killings, citing examples.
These include Chidiebere Okwuwolu, a former Commissioner and currently an APC leader, said to have been arrested by police and taken to Olu Obasanjo Police Station in Port Harcourt along with 99 other arrested APC members scattered in various police Stations in the state.
He said that at Ubima, the home town of Governor Chibuike Amaechi, “the INEC results sheets are currently with Chief Nyesome Wike, the gubernatorial candidate of PDP in Rivers State while at Andoni, his (Ikanya) the Local Government Area of Rivers State APC Chairman, the National Vice Chairman of PDP and his cousin, Tele Ikuru (the Deputy Governor of Rivers State who few days defected to PDP) “hell has been let loose; electoral materials have been hijacked by PDP agents in connivance with the army that has been threatening to arrest and kill any APC chieftains in sight.”
He also alleged that the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Andoni Local Government area, Esuku Esuku, was “ordered out of Ngo, headquarters of local government, by the Joint Task Force (JTF)/army personnel deployed to Ngo, or be killed.”
Continuing, he said: “At Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government, materials are being distributed from the house of Minister of Sports, Chief Tammy Danagogo, instead of the INEC office, without any security personnel. Danagogo has held the policemen that ought to escort these materials to the polling units hostage and injuring DPO of Abonnema, Mr. Joseph Kayode for daring to accompany Hon Isobo Jack the Commissioner for Urban Development to the Polling Unit, relevant pictures attached.
“PDP thugs hijacked materials and INEC personnel meant for Akuku-Toru Wards 15, 16 and 17. The hijacked materials and men were taken to Freetown, a hinterland coastal community. The attack was led by two youths whose identities are known.
“In Tombia, in same Akuku-Toru local government, PDP had by Friday night filled the community with Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) bouncers who were attacking APC members and, at the same time, preventing those returning home to vote from entering the town. They were doing so in the presence of soldiers who were too few in number. The Caretaker Committer Chairman and others were injured on Friday. The over 30 APC members that were to act as agents were arrested.
“In Buguma, which is the Headquarters of Asari-Toru Local government, policemen were busy all day arresting APC chieftains.
“In Gokana Local Government, trained INEC ad-hoc personnel were replaced with untrained manpower suspected to be PDP members. This is believed to have been done in connivance with the LGA Electoral Officer (EO).
“At Opobo/Nkoro, the Local Government Area of Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, the gubernatorial candidate of APC, the house of Opobo/Nkoro Caretaker Committee Chairman, Loveday Jaja, was torched after he escaped to avoid being killed by the PDP hoodlums. Electoral materials meant for the Local Government Area have been diverted to John Africa/Ada Tom Pepple Compound area where they are thumb-printing in favour of PDP. Another person Alafagha Oko-Jaja had his head broken head and he is seriously bleeding. No one is sure if he will survive.
“The army has been going around the community harassing people while Chiefs in Kalaibiama are compelling them to vote for President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP. This is said to be on the orders of Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Kenneth Minimah, who is also from the town.
“A PDP Agent in Unit 006 Ward, Oopbo/Nkoro was caught with INEC Register and fake results sheet at the polling Unit.
“At Oyigbo LGA, 40,000 incident forms were being given out at 6:30 a.m. but they stopped when the APC Agent complained about it. He was however asked to leave the INEC office at about 11:30 a.m. Already, 120,000 incident forms have been to Port Harcourt LGA, 80,000 to Obio/Akpor and 50,000 to Ikwerre LGA. The incident forms are one of the ways PDP plans to use to rig the elections around the country, especially in the South South and South East.
“”In Okrika, there was sudden change and appearance of fresh and inadequately trained INEC ad-hoc staff who tried to persuade voters to undergo manual accreditation, claiming that card readers assigned to Okrika LGA polling booths were not working (even without trying them). In a few units where APC supporters insisted on ‘No Card, No Accreditation’, the card readers mysteriously began to work. But in majority of the places manual accreditation is being undertaken.
Also in Okrika, there is insufficient delivery of electoral materials by INEC. Up till now no one, not even party agents, has seen the original result collation sheets. The INEC officials claim it is not everything that they must explain. Meanwhile, INEC delivered incident forms far excess of the number of registered voters.”
Ikanya said that on the hand, PDP stalwarts were “openly parading bundles of PVC cards in their possession.”while one of them accompanied by police and PDP thugs armed with guns, went round chasing away APC members from doing accreditation. “
Dr Ikanya passed a vote of no confidence on the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Gesila Khan for,in his view,failing in her duties .
“Whatever trash she will announce as the result of today’s (yesterday’s) election is not acceptable to us and we ask for her immediate transfer and a new date be set for a proper election in Rivers State than the sham and charade that was calculated to rubbish INEC and democracy,” he said.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi refused to be accredited in his Ubima hometown after INEC officials faied to produce result sheets for the elections.
Information Commissioner Ibim Semenitari told reporters that Amaechi took the decision because “he could not subject himself to accreditation when the required election material meant for his unit could not be accounted for.”
She said the same problem was reported from all parts of the state. The Nation