A former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Chibudom Nwuche, has described the just-concluded governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State as a sham and a betrayal of true democracy.Nwuche, who made this remark while speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday, said the election was marred by violence and other forms of irregularities.
Maintaining that the elections were neither free nor fair, the ex-deputy speaker expressed surprise that the Independent National Electoral Commission could announce the election result after the ugly incidents during the exercise.
Nwuche maintained that the call for the cancellation of the results of the state elections was justified, adding that the results announced were not the wish of the people of the state.
He said, “I do not know how INEC could have the moral justification as an unbiased umpire to announce the results, which in some areas, people have to hide for cover; some have to run and some were inflicted with machete cut.
“I don’t know that the umpire expected to be of a good conscience could declare a winner where deaths were recorded across the state without exception; where votes and ballots cast were exchanged at gunpoint. So I believe that the calls for the cancellation is justified.
“The election in Rivers State where neither free nor fair. It was violent and the results that were announced did not reflect the pattern of voting. The result sheets were snatched with the use of hired thugs with arms under police protection. Ballot papers were thumb-printed and later figures were announced with the full support of INEC.”
He, however, expressed worry over the future of democracy in the country and decried a situation where a candidate only needed to have a private army or a group of armed youths to win elections.
“With the way the democratic process is going in the country, it is gradually developing into a culture of ‘warlordism’ where what you require is to have a private army or youths that are armed to compromise the police and the INEC and declare a winner. That is not what we want in a democracy.
“To accept results where even the observers have said the elections did not meet upmost standard and announce them is an indictment on INEC. Election where violence was deployed in a large commercial scale cannot be said to be free and fair,” he said.
Explaining that people voted massively for the All Progressives Congress in Ahoada East and Ahoada West Local Government Areas, Nwuche expressed shock that INEC decided to cancel the outcome of the exercise.
“We won our LGAs very clearly. For instance, in my ward, the APC had over four thousand votes and the PDP had less than two hundred votes.
“But I heard they tried at gunpoint to change the results and eventually cancelled it, even when it was peaceful; and it was free and fair,” Nwuche noted.