The people of Rivers state trooped out in their numbers on the 10th of December, 2016 to cast their votes for Senatorial, House of Representatives and state House of Assembly elections. Even without been told, the drama that greeted the elections is a testimony of the blood-tainted result it produced. The election was largely characterized by fear, violence and deaths which the two leading political gladiators trade blames over. We need not say this further exposed the volatility in the oil-rich state with the recent discovery of an audio recording of a conversation between the state Governor and an officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Before the election, Governor Nyelsom Wike, during a political campaign was quoted to have said INEC was “instigating violence” by making result sheets available to his arch-rivals, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in other to reduce the chances of his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the elections.
In the said audio recording it was alleged that Governor Wike admitted to giving money to some electoral officials and threatening to kill them if they did not act to instructions. In the audio, published by Sahara Reporters, a supposed electoral officer is heard telling Mr. Wike that INEC officials were being intimidated from doing the governor’s bidding. Though he later denied the unfortunate audio recording, things like these still obtainable in our polity show how primitive our democracy is!
Political gladiators made inciting political statements especially the one credited to Governor Wike that INEC was planning to rig the elections in favour of APC. The APC on its part armed with four of its governors- Kano, Bauchi , Plateau and Benue states- who allegedly released a total of N4billion to influence the outcome of the elections.
There were videos, on social media, of party agents, with their tags on beating up electoral officers at collation centres. This shows they have the full backing of their bosses. With all these still happening
What was seen during the re-run elections in Rivers was an open display of thuggery, violence and blood instead of a battle of ideas and ideologies!