- Prince Tonye Princewill accuses INEC of being influenced by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state
- The APC chieftain says the image of INEC has recently been dented by the Nigerian Army
- The spokesperson of the Tonye Cole campaign organisation gives INEC four conditions to redeem its image
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Tonye Princewill, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of being unable to resist ‘big money’ from the governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike.
Princewill, who is the director of strategic communications of the Tonye Cole campaign organisation, made the allegation in a statement made available to Legit.ng.
He said his allegation stemmed from the statement recently released by INEC and the reply from the Nigerian Army, which, according to him, dented the image of the electoral umpire.
“It is better to be quiet and let people suspect you may have something in your mouth, than to open your mouth and confirm that you actually do. What INEC has shown in their attitude towards us and in putting out their midnight statement on the 15th of March was that they have been unable to resist the allure of big money and the evil of Nyesom Wike.
“Many of us said as much, but we were quietly dismissed as just being biased. Now that people have heard from an institution with even more integrity, the biases of INEC and their underhand tactics have been laid bare for everyone else to also see.
“They are not the first to succumb and they will not be the last, but thanks to the current anti corruption trend in Buhari governance, they are now dancing in the market square and the world is watching their backs,” the statement said.
According to Princewill, the recent statement by the Nigerian Army exposed a wide gap in the relationship between the electoral umpire and the security agencies.
The spokesperson said what was striking in the statement released by the Army “is not that they simply dented INEC’s credibility, but that they called them out in a key aspect of their qualification that leaves them in tatters - their expected independence.
“How INEC recovers from this remains to be seen, but suffice to say that they can no longer speak with the freedom of the benefit of doubt they have been enjoying, from not only Nigerians but from the international community as well.
“Wike has tried to show us that he can buy anyone, recruit everyone and not be held accountable to anyone in his pursuit of his ambition to lord it over is in Rivers state. Thanks to the Nigerian Army, some elements in the judiciary and also the Inspector-General of Police, not everybody is for sale.
“There is still hope for justice and the illegal suspension of an exercise that was inching him towards defeat will not save him from an inevitable rendezvous. We conducted a congress, they complained. We repeated it again, they sued.
“Judges excluded us from the ballot, we went for option B. Rivers people still humiliated Wike, they suspended his defeat. What more do we need to do, what else do they need to see, to know that this is not about one man, one party or even any individual ambition?
“It is a movement, united in the recovery of our state, our economy and our collective peace of mind.
“We in Rivers state know that there was no widespread violence that called for a total suspension of a whole state. If there was, how did INEC get results in 17 out of 23 LGAs? We know that widespread violence leaves a trail of death and destruction, if that was the case, how come INEC was able to declare results for Presidential elections when death and destruction was validated, but not for the governorship election when death and destruction was unconfirmed?”
Princewill asked INEC to redeem its image by doing the following:
1. Apologise to Rivers people and the security agencies, especially the army, to rebuild the sense of joint duty needed to move forward.
2. Issue a statement condemning the violence meted out to all sides with specific reference to the governor’s illegal storming of a collation centre.
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3. Cancel the entire process and start again or pending the resolution of all legal matters, announce the results as a collation of results announced per LGA, up to the point of 'suspension'.
4. Change the REC and principal officers to conduct the election whenever the opportunity so provides, as there is no confidence in their neutrality and/or competence to conduct a free and fair election.
“Anything short of the above is business as usual and an exercise in futility. We are by this statement indicating our intent to be resolute against all odds in the goal of us rescuing our state from the shackles of wickedness. In both high and low places. We thank all the patriots that have still remained committed to justice in spite of the twists and turns of corrupt institutions,” the statement added.
Legit.ng earlier reported that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja reportedly ordered INEC to stop the collation and announcement of the result of the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in Rivers state held on Saturday, March 9.
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