Dakuku Peterside and Governor Nyesom Wike

Eight witnesses for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday told the Rivers Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja that the security men who testified for the All Progressives Congress (APC) lied on oath before the tribunal.

The witnesses also told the tribunal during their cross examination by counsel to the APC, Mr Akinlolu Olujimi that the security men were ignorant of the electoral processes at the polling unit.

Fifty-eight witnesses, among who were soldiers, policemen and officials of the Department of State Services were called by the APC to prove the allegations that the April 11 governorship election was marred by violence.

Some of the witnesses testified that there was no election. Others claimed that the election was disrupted by shooting and ballot snatching.

The witnesses insisted that the elections were peaceful, credible and that all legal procedures for the election were followed before the declaration of Governor Nyesom Wike as the winner.

the witnesses who were presiding officers in five local government areas, namely Degema, Gokana, Ogba /Egbema/Ndoni, Andoni and Opobo/Nkoro, added that card readers and manual accreditation were used during the election.

Mr Derekunor Richmond, the presiding officer at Ward 4 Unit 10, described the soldiers who testified earlier as liars who were not at the polling unit.

He said the governorship election was peaceful, credible and conducted in line with the Electoral Act and INEC guidelines.

The witness also pointed out that he met other presiding officers, who participated in the collation at the ward collation centre where results were compiled.

Another presiding officer, Nwachukwu Chimezie, who conducted election at Unit 9, Ward 14 of Degema, noted that the election was peaceful and credible in his jurisdiction.

According to Chimezie, the soldiers and mobile policemen who testified before the tribunal lied on oath.

He said Degema Local Government Area was peaceful on election day, adding that he slept in the town on April 10 and there was no shooting or thuggery.

He added that all electoral procedures were followed before the results were declared in the presence of party agents.

Another INEC witness, Apoodari Dilo, the presiding officer for Unit 4 Ward 4 in Gokana, berated the soldiers, saying there was no violence during the election.

He stated that he slept at Gokana on the night preceding the election and that it was peaceful, with no shooting or violence.

Onyije Ifeanyi, the presiding officer in Ogba / Egbema / Ndoni confirmed that the election was peaceful, credible and conducted in line with the Electoral Act.

He wondered why the soldiers and mobile policemen invited by the APC would lie under oath when they never participated in the election.

According to Ifeanyi, if there were killings in the local government area he monitored, as the soldiers alleged, he would not have stayed there to complete the election process and collation of results in the presence of party agents.

The Presiding Officer for Unit 12 Ward 1 of Opobo / Nkoro local government where the Rivers State APC governorship candidate, Mr Dakuku Peterside hails from, Mohammed Yusuf, said contrary to claims by the soldiers and mobile policemen, nobody disrupted the voting.

Maxwell Loveday , the presiding officer of Unit 6 Ward 9 of Andoni Local Government Area, said there was no violence as the election was peaceful.

The presiding officer for Unit 8, Ward 1 of Degema Local Government Area, Tuboni McBala said that all electoral procedures were observed before he went to the ward collation centre where he met other presiding officers.

He noted that the soldiers and mobile policemen merely lied at the tribunal as they were not part of the process.

Ogunkoya Adewale, who served as presiding officer at unit 5 Ward 4 in Degema Local Government Area said he had a successful voting and collation, adding that there were no soldiers at the polling unit.

He said he travelled to Bakana, a riverine community, a day before the election and slept there without any violence before and during the election.

The witness maintained that elections held and the legal procedures were used to get to the declaration of results.

He said card readers and manual accreditation were used for the governorship election in line with the training they received.

Adewale pointed out that they were never instructed to postpone the election on account of malfunctioning card readers.

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