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March 9 Elections: PDP Fumes As Army Denies Agents Access Into INEC Collation Centre In Eleme

Chairman of Eleme Local Government Council, Hon. Philip Okparaji has accused members of the Nigerian Army of denying PDP agents in Eleme Local Government Area access to the INEC collation centre in Ogale Eleme.
Hear him: “The Army has stopped our party agents from going into the INEC office, our legitimate agents with their tags. We can’t go in; you can’t chase the agents of a political party out of where they are counting the votes. They need to be there so that they can see and record for the party. We have approached the captain but he refused, we can’t go in even as a local government chairman, I can’t go in”.
However, some INEC officials who spoke to our correspondent said the Collation Centre became rowdy and uncomfortable, before security agents teargased INEC officials and party agents and chased people away from the INEC office in Eleme Local Government area where collation was on-going.
Inside Eleme reporter at the collation centre confirmed that Senator Olaka Nwogu and other PDP agents and supporters were barred from having access into the INEC Collation Centre at Ogale by the military.
Meanwhile, residents of Eleme came out to cast their votes for the governorship and State House of Assembly candidates for another four years.
While electorates awaits INEC to announce the results of the elections, the story across Eleme is that voting and collation process which started peacefully later became rowdy and characterized by heavy shooting and snatching of ballot boxes and abduction of INEC staff and interference by some men in military uniform.
Angered by the disruption of the collation process, the Peoples Democratic Party accused the APC of being behind the violence and protest that characterized the elections in Eleme.
The PDP said, despite the non participation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the elections due to court judgment, the APC through their leader in the state, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi had vowed to support the candidate of the AAC and then used the Nigerian Army to perpetrate violence and many irregularities that characterize the election.
They also accused the APC of trying to manipulate the result of the election at the INEC collation center Ogale. During the voting at the early hours of the elections, stakeholders and aspirants of political parities like PDP, AAC, AC, and SDP spoke to Inside Eleme.
In his speech, Senator Olaka Nwogu said: “This unit, as you can see is peaceful but at Agbonchia, some part of Akpajo and Ebubu we are having some issues. We are watching how it will turn out. We hope that INEC will be conscious of its image and reputation and will be willing to put in its best to conduct an election that will be acceptable to all. Kudos to them for what they are doing now but we are still watching because it is still early.
We are confident, in those days we say there is no other candidate since the next vibrant party in the state is APC but now they are not on the ballot, what we are doing is pretence election because the APC is metamorphosing to another party and it is a pretence election, not a real election. If it is a real election, APC would have been in the ballot and do what they have to do. For the governorship, it is a walkover for our governor, this Governor that will defect APC candidate”.
Early into the elections, Inside Eleme spoke with Hon. Philip Okparaji, Hon. Aforji Igwe and Hon. Isaac Ejire. Hear them:
Hon. Philip Okparaji, Eleme Local Government Council Chairman: “Here in my unit you can see clearly that the turnout of voters is impressive. We are impressed with the process so far, you can see the orderliness.
“In terms of the outcome, we are not shaking, you can’t bring a candidate that nobody knows, and you call it AAC, what is AAC? To me even the least voter does not know what AAC represents but everybody knows what PDP represents. In Eleme here, everyone can see the handiwork of the governor of the state, Nyesom Wike, whether you are in the opposition or the ruling party, you can see what the governor has done.
“There is no one who will say he/she is not impressed with the performance of the governor. There is peace in Rivers State, there is development, tranquility and we believe that in his second tenure, more projects will be spread to the nooks and crannies of Rivers State.The electorate should not be intimidated, they should come out and vote, we must all defend democracy in Nigeria”.
Engr. Aforji Igwe: “I will give kudos to INEC because looking at the process, INEC has improved but in the area of security agents and leaders of some political parties, the intimidation and harassment of leaders of PDP is unnecessary and uncalled for. It is not anyway taking us higher, so I want to appeal to leaders and stakeholders of all other parties to stop harassing voters and arresting PDP elders.
“Since on Tuesday, Comrade Jacob Adeya has been arrested by military men at Akpajo where he went to pay condolence visit on his uncle that lost his father, up till now, we don’t know his whereabouts, houses of our leaders in Eleme have been invaded by lot of military personnel and that have affected the turnout today because of fear of intimidation.
“For INEC, they improved, materials came to the unit on time, where we need improvement is the players within the party lines, they need to be mature in the process.
“Regarding me being victorious, power belongs to the people, what we depend on is God through the people just like our party name says: ‘The Peoples Democratic Party’. His Excellency, EN Wike has done marvelously well in Rivers State, he has his projects across the 23 local governments and we are moving along with him because we want to consolidate on the projects he has done in his first tenure. We believe the electorates will return him to Brick House and vote all PDP candidates. So the good works will continue. I am very confident that the PDP will sweep the state despite the intimidation and harassment meted on us”.
Duke of Eleme, Isaac Ejire (Accord Party, AC Candidate for RSHA): “The election so far is not free and fair. I have credible information on a good authority that the Ambassador to the Netherlands, Oji Ngofa has carted away materials meant for the election in almost all the wards in Eleme in conjunction with the security.
“In Agbonchia, I can say exactly that there is no election, the materials for the entire units have been hijacked by boys believed to be working for the Ambassador and also PDP. Immediately I cast my vote, they came, shot sporadically and went away with everything. So, INEC has to do the needful, I have called the authorities, I have informed them of the abnormalities in Agbonchia and Eleme generally. I am calling for the cancellation of the election in Eleme because boys believed to be working for the Ambassador went round to various units and snatched all the result sheets, card readers and all that”, he lamented.

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