THE Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has vowed to resist an alleged plot by the Independent National Electoral Commission in connivance with the All Progressives Congress to remove the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Gesila Khan.
The state PDP specifically accused the state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, of planning to bribe INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, to remove Khan and replace her with a card-carrying member of the APC.
The State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, who spoke with The PUNCH in a telephone interview on Saturday, cautioned Jega to stay away from Rivers and allow the state REC to be.
It will be recalled that the PDP polled 1,487,075 votes while the APC got 69,238 votes, an election result that the APC in the state had continued to describe as unrealistic.
But Nwanosike explained that the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections was the wish of the people of the state, adding that the state REC had done nothing to merit the alleged plot to remove her.
He added that the governor was planning to influence the appointment of some APC members in the state as INEC ad hoc employees with a view to rigging the election in favour of the ruling party in the state.
“Jega should stay away from Rivers. We (PDP) are aware of the plan to change the Rivers State REC. As I speak to you, Governor Amaechi has paid Jega so that the APC can manipulate the governorship election in the state.
“The plan is to remove the Rivers State REC and bring in a card-carrying member of the APC to replace her. We will resist any move to remove Gesila Khan. Rivers people will resist plan to remove her,” Nwanosike stressed.
However, the APC described the allegation against Amaechi and INEC as laughable, explaining that it was not in the character of Amaechi to bribe anybody to achieve a legitimate objective.
The State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Chris Finebone, told The PUNCH that Jega remained an impeccable character that would never be bribed by anybody.
Finebone described the call for the removal of the state REC as legitimate and recalled that the state APC had raised the alarm in the past that Khan had compromised on her duty to conduct a free and fair election in Rivers State.
“All these allegations against Amaechi and INEC are laughable and false. Nobody needs to bribe Jega or INEC before the state REC, who has obviously compromised, is removed. We raised the alarm before the election that the woman was partial, but nobody listened to us.
“On the allegation that Amaechi is planning to bribe Jega, the PDP in the state should know that it takes two persons for a bribe to take place, and the two persons mentioned are not interested in anything called bribe.
“So, you will agree with me that the story of bribe is an afterthought which must be disregarded by Rivers people and Nigerians. We (APC) have said that the current REC iin Rivers must leave and we are maintaining that,” Finebone added.