Bribery Allegation Rocks Rivers Elections Tribunal

imageStrong allegation of planned bribery by the Rivers State Government has begun to swirl around the State’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal ahead of its Monday meeting.

Apart from reportedly frustrating ‎effort to inspect the ballots allegedly used in the election in the state amongst other antics, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Nyesome Wike were also said to have moved in a lot of money into Abuja today, July 3, ahead of the Monday sitting.

Believed to be worried that it might have a very bad case, Wike is said to have‎ resorted to inducing some of the justices on the tribunal with a view to slanting their positions in his favour.

The governor, who is believed to be relying on his wife, a judge and the wife of a former governor of the state is said to have undertaken intense lobbying in the last few weeks, reaching out to everyone he thought could be of value to his case.

Besides, it is generally believed in the political parlance that the reason Wike has been seeking and receiving approvals for loans is to enable him fund the tribunal.

Although the tribunal members are said to have maintained an uncompromising stance as far as the Rivers election is concerned, determined to do justice, their disposition is however believed to have been giving the governor and the PDP some discomfort because they reckoned everyone has a price.

Wike’s fear is believed to have stemmed from a recent INEC document signed by the duo of the acting director in charge of INEC Legal Unit, Ibrahim Bawa and head of unit, Data Management, of the Commission’s Information Communication Territory Department, Abimbola Oladunjoye, which puts the total number of accredited voters for the April 11 governorship election in Rivers at 292, 878, establishing the authenticity in the allegedly over-bloated figure credited to Wike’s victory.

This has become instructive for Wike, who might have to defend the fact that he legally garnered votes that were nearly triple the total number of accredited voters, going by the INEC record.

The governor’s case is made worse by the fact that the immediate past INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega had categorically stated that there was no directive to the effect that the Permanent Voters’ Card be jettisoned during the election.

The revelation came recently when Jega, maintained that INEC did not change its directive on the use of card reader for the governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

Jega spoke during a post 2015 general election assessment retreat for Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital with the theme: ‘2015 General Elections: Lessons and Way forwardm’

He claimed it was only during the presidential election that the commission instructed all the states that wherever there was evidence of card readers’ failure, they should revert to manual accreditation.

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