Charles Okoye, an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Friday said the 11 April governorship election in Rivers state was not properly conducted. Okoye appeared as a witness for the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside, who is challenging the return of Nyesome Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party. Okoye told the election petitions tribunal that the election was fraught with violent conduct and was a “sham” and “mockery of democracy”.
“The election was characterised by violence, shooting, ballot box snatching, intimidation of voters and other forms of impunity in the major part of Rivers.
“I did a compilation of field report of what was gathered by me and other members of my group who monitored the election,’’
Despite”, Okoye, stated. He added that election only held in some part of the Eleme Local Government Area, and that it was marred by violence like in other reports gotten from other areas.
INEC’s counsel, Onyechi Ipeazu, objected to Okoye’s appearance, arguing that he was not aware that somebody from the commission would appear as a witness. Wike’s and PDP’s counsels agreed with Ikpeazu, but their protest against Okoye’s appearance was overruled by the tribunal judge, citing an amendment to the Electoral Act, which allowed such appearance.