The Rivers State governor, and Director General of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, did not vote in Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections Saturday.
Mr. Amaechi, who was at the polling unit located in front of his father’s country home in Ubima, had refused to be accredited by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The governor, who complained about the failure of INEC to supply result sheets to polling units in his ward, told reporters that Ikwere people would not vote unless the result sheets were brought to polling units in the area.
“This is my local government area and you see that INEC has not supplied result sheets in any polling unit here,” Mr. Amaechi complained.
“I have spoken to the resident electoral commissioner in the state and she assured me the result sheets would be brought but up till now (11am) nothing has happened.
“We have decided not to be accredited until the result sheets are brought by INEC. I have asked our people not to go through accreditation until all the relevant electoral materials are brought by INEC.”
The governor, who was talking to electoral officers and voters Omuanwu Ward in Omute Playground Unit, Ikwere Local Government Area, later turned and drove to his polling unit.
As soon as he got to the polling unit located in front of his father’s house, the Commander, 2nd Brigade, Port Harcourt, Brigadier Gen. Essien Essien, waved him to stop and he did.
Mr. Essien politely requested the governor to go back to his house and stop driving about until the election ended.
He said, “Your Excellency should please go home and wait until the election is over. Nobody is permitted to go about during the election except those duly accredited to do so.
“If you have an accreditation to monitor the election, I will not stop you from doing that but since you don’t have the accreditation by INEC, you must go back home Your Excellency.”
While the governor’s convoy was being surrounded by over 20 heavily armed soldiers, Mr. Amaechi put a call through to the REC in the state.
After making the call, the governor said he was going back to Government House in Port Harcourt but was asked not to drive outside his community by Gen. Essien.
The governor argued that there was nobody in his father’s compound and that he could not stay there.
After a heated argument which lasted for over 12 minutes, Mr. Essien allowed the governor to go back to Port Harcourt.
The brigade commander, however, advised the governor not to branch into any polling unit on the way to Port Harcourt to avoid being embarrassed by security operatives.
As at 5p.m. when voting had ended in many parts of the state, Mr. Amaechi did not go back to Ubima to cast his vote.
His Chief Press Secretary, David Iyofo, confirmed his principal could not vote because INEC failed to supply result sheets at polling units in Ikwere Local Government Area of the state.
Meanwhile, the state governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Nyesom Wike, had commended the people of the state for peaceful conduct during the election.
He said despite the initial challenges of accreditation occasioned by the card readers, elections in the state have been peaceful and transparent.
Speaking after casting his vote at Unit 7, Ward 9 in Obio/ Akpor LGA, Mr. Wike what happened in the state is an indication that the people are committed to protecting democracy.
He said contrary to the speculation that the elections will be marred by violence, the people have proved that they believe in developmental electioneering process.
Mr. Wike said reports from PDP agents across the state show that the elections have been successful.