Election materials started arriving polling units from 9.am. PREMIUM TIMES was at Tombia Road polling unit, GRA, Port Harcourt at 9.20 am. Over 30 voters had already arrived and were waiting for the arrival of INEC officials.
At Oroworukwu Town Hall, D-Line Port Harcourt, PREMIUM TIMES spotted a PDP poster on the wall of the building which is under construction. The town hall is used at a central distribution center for all the units in D-line.
Electoral officials were loading materials into buses guarded by security agents including the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Prisons, Nigerian Customs Service and Nigerian Immigration Service.
At Ikwere Local Government, home of the state governor, PREMIUM TIMES ran into Governor Rotimi Amaechi at Omuanwu Ward, Omute Playground Unit.
At the unit, Mr.Amaechi was told that INEC has supplied all the materials except the result sheets. The voters argued that they would not be accredited until the result sheets are brought to the centre.
Responding, a visibly angry Mr. Amaechi said INEC is deliberately undermining the electoral laws by not supplying result sheets in the local government area.
“You can see that the result sheets have not been brought here. The same thing is happening all over the local government area,” said Mr. Amaechi.
“We have therefore resolved not to be involved in the election until the result sheets are brought.
“This is my local government area and this is happening. The same thing is happening all over the place.”
After talking to journalists at the unit, Mr. Amaechi, who drove himself in a bullet-proof BMW jeep, turned and drove towards his family compound in Obima but was stopped by a detachment of troops led by the Commander of the 2nd Brigade, Nigeria Army, Bori Camp, Brigadier General Essien Essien.
A minor altercation ensued between Mr.Essien and the governor over the legality of Mr. Amaechi moving around with a convoy while election is going on.
Mr. Amaechi told the army boss the problem voters were encountering in the area and noted that as the governor of the state, he has the right to make sure that elections are conducted within the ambit of the law. “Brigade Commander, why are you mountings two road blocks near my father’s compound,” he said.
“Are you being sent by President Jonathan to kill me? I had told the world that President Jonathan is trying to kill me and I am saying it again.”
Mr. Essien denied being given any instruction to kill anybody and asked the governor to go back to his home and stop moving about.
“His Excellency, we have instructions not to allow people who are not duly accredited not to move around during the election,” Mr. Essien said.
“That is why we are advising you to go back to your house and wait there until the election is over.”
The brigade commander also told the governor that the military was not blocking his house, adding that they had instructions to ensure that law and order is maintained.
The argument became a bit heated when the governor said he was going back to Government House on Port Harcourt to wait until the result sheets are brought for him to come and vote.
When Mr. Essien insisted that the governor must go back to his family house and wait, Mr. Amaechi said he would not, adding that the Brigade Commander can arrest him if that is what he wants to do.
Putting out his two hands in front towards the Brigade Commander, Mr. Amaechi said, “Arrest me if that’s what you want to do or allow me return to Government House I’m Port Harcourt.
“There is nobody in this house. It is my father’s house. I don’t have a house in my village.”
After about 12 minutes of argument between the two, Mr. Essien allowed Mr. Amaechi to drive back with his convoy to Port Harcourt but advised him not to stop anywhere along the road to monitor the election.