Amidst complaints of widespread violence and electoral malpractices, the Independent National Electoral Commission has declared the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Nyesom Wike, governor-elect in Rivers State.
The Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Faraday Osasere Oruwese, declared Mr. Wike winner of the governorship election after over four grueling hours of paperwork.
Mr. Oruwese, who started the final compilation of the result at 12.27 am, shortly after the last result came in from Bonny Island, could not announce the result until 4.17am.
While announcing the result of the poll, the returning officer said Mr. Wike polled a total of 1,029, 102 votes, which represented 87.7 percent of the total votes.
His closest rival and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Dakuku Peterside polled a total of 124,896 votes, representing 10.65 percent.
Rivers State has 23 local government areas with a total of 319 electoral wards and 4442 polling units.
Based on INEC records, the state has a total of 2,079, 231 registered voters, which is by far the highest in the South-South zone.
But for the election, Mr. Oruwese said a total of 1,228, 614 voters were accredited while the total number of votes cast stood at 1,187, 295.
However, 1,172,535 votes were recorded as valid while a total of 14, 760 votes were rejected.
18 candidates were locked in the battle to take over Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s job at the Brick House, Port Harcourt.
Apart from Messrs Wike and Peterside, the other candidates who stood for the election included Senabo Jaja of the Action Alliance, who scored 285 votes representing 0.03 percent.
Miller Orgwu of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, scored 101 votes and Uchechekwu Ichenwo of the Alliance for Democracy scored only 125, respectively, representing only 0.01 percent of the total votes cast.
Livingstone Nodi of the African Peoples Alliance scored 370 votes which represent 0.03 percent of the total votes cast across the state while Charles Harry of the All Progressives Grand Alliance scored 3146 votes representing 0.27 percent of the votes.
Enyida Udo of the Citizens Popular Party scored a total of 119 votes representing 0.01 of the votes while his counterpart in the Democratic Peoples Party, Nsirim Chima polled only 324 votes, representing 0.028 percent.
Okechukwu Ehogwo of the Hope Democratic Party polled only 266 votes representing 0.023 percent while his counterpart in the Independent Democrats, Baba Nelson Amiye, scored 604 votes representing 0.052.
Kemka Elenwo of the KOWA party scored a total of 187 votes representing 0.016 percent while Tonye Princewill of the Labour Party scored 10, 142 votes, representing 0.86 percent.
Anatasia Tepikor of the National Conscience Party polled a total of 104 votes, representing only 0.01 percent while Godwin David of the New Nigeria Peoples Party polled 261 votes, representing 0.02 percent.
Boma Jacks of the Progressives Peoples Alliance scored 886 votes, representing 0.07 percent while Minaibim Harry, a clergy, scored only 843 votes, representing 0.07 percent.
Akuro Parker of the United Progressive Party scored 792 votes, representing 0.068 percent.
Results Emuoha Local Government Area were however, cancelled on the recommendation of the electoral officer from the area, while, several wards where clear cases of malpractices were reported were also cancelled.
Shortly after he was declared winner of the election, Mr Wike commended the people of the state for overwhelmingly voting him to revive the state and give it a new lease of life.
He promised to live up to the expectations of the electorates by delivering on the cardinal programmes contained in the New Rivers Vision 2015.
He called on the people of the state to unite and work as a collective in the forthcoming months, saying it is imperative to forge ahead on all fronts despite the challenges the state is facing.
“I will to the best of my ability and with the fear of God develop a new Rivers State where opportunities for growth will be open to everyone resident in the state. Under my leadership, we shall all form a common front to ensure development for all communities.
“We will not persecute anyone. But we shall remain focused on the urgent needs of development across the state and the need to empower the vast majority of our people. We will run a transparent administration that will be fully accountable to the people, ensuring that Rivers people get value for their resources.”
But Mr. Peterside complained of widespread violence and irregularities during the election and called for its cancellation.
He said majority of the ad hoc staff engaged by INEC were card-carrying members of the PDP, who he alleged assisted in rigging the election in favour of the opposition party.
“Materials were hijacked in many local government areas even before accreditation started and election did not hold in many areas too,” Mr. Peterside said.
“In Akuku Toru Local Government Area, electoral materials were hijacked and INEC officials between up by heavily armed men who would not allow election to be conducted in the area.
“Even in areas where they managed to conduct the election, results were written in the homes of PDP chieftains.”
Mr. Peterside said the APC was currently gathering evidence of the malpractices that characterised and vowed to challenge Mr. Wike’s victory in the court.
On his part, Mr. Princewill said the greatest trick INEC ever pulled was making the people believe that in 2015, our votes would actually count.
He complained that the commission declared results in many areas where election never held, noting that the situation has further eroded the peoples’ confidence in the electoral process.
“It is no doubt understandable that some will celebrate this exercise, while my party and others will in most parts condemn it. But I prefer to bring to our attention to the lives that were lost in this orgy of violence that was occasionally interrupted by voting,” he said.
“Door to door campaigning became door to door shooting and everything from dynamite to beheadings became the order of the day. The number of bullets expended exceeded the number of voters.
“If we seek to govern in peace, we really must sanitise and demilitarise our political process. This message applies to both parties and to INEC. As I said after the Presidential elections, “What goes around comes around.”
“The person beheaded in my community was a well known member of the PDP. The very deep anti-Amaechi sentiment within and outside the creeks backed by guns and an equally well armed pro-Amaechi lobby was always a recipe for chaos.”