The startling revelations at the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja took a new turn on Friday September 11 when Charles Okoye, a staff the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, described the April 11 governorship election as a total charade.
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Okoye, who works in the Department of Elections and Party Monitoring at Rivers State INEC, revealed to the tribunal that the governorship election that he monitored was a mockery.
In his words, “the election we observed was warfare. It is also militant terrorism and a sham. It was a kangaroo election and a mockery of democracy…
“The election was characterised by large-scale violence and disruption of polls in many places. There were snatching of materials, nonstop shooting, allocation of figures and all kinds of impunity.
“All these happened on April 11. What happened on that day could not have passed as an election and my observations are in that report that I signed with members of my monitoring team.
“By virtue of my position at INEC, I am eminently qualified to speak on the things that happened during the election. My duty, among other things, is monitoring of election with a view to assisting the Commission improve the electoral process.
“Over 80 observer groups reported to me, and I briefed them concerning the elections and debriefed them at the end of the elections.
“I also set up monitoring teams that went to various parts of the state on monitoring. They reported to me at the end of the day, and I was the person in the commission who dealt with all the political parties before, during and after the elections”.
Okoye also said that INEC ad-hoc staff were not properly recruited, a revelation that confirmed the position of the APC members who said the ad-hoc staff were card-carrying members of the PDP.
Earlier, lawyers to INEC and the PDP had raised objections on the legality of an INEC staff serving as a witness relying on Section 51(1) of the Electoral Act. However, Chief Akin Olujimi SAN in response to their objections informed the tribunal that that portion of the Electoral Act has been removed, and therefore no longer binding.