By Iheamnachor Davies
THE treasure base of the nation which is yet to recover from the pangs it experienced during the March 28th and April 11th 2015 general elections is again set to face another tussle between the two major political parties in Nigeria in court ordered rerun National and State legislative elections tomorrow.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had celebrated a landslide victory in the controversial 2015 elections when it captured all three Senate seats, all 13 House of Representatives seats and 31 out of 32 State House of Assembly seats.
The elections were slammed as a charade by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its leader, Rotimi Amaechi, the immediate past governor of the state who gave as example, his inability to vote even as the sitting governor as the hallmark of the alleged charade.
His assertions were, however, debunked by the then minister of state for education, Nyesom Wike who accused the APC of crying wolf.
Following petitions from APC candidates, the elections in all three Senate constituencies, 12 of the 13 federal constituencies and 22 of the 32 state constituencies were annulled and hence the call for rerun tomorrow.
Assertion of bias
With Amaechi and Wike now in reversed positions, the same assertion of bias is being made albeit differently.
Wike who is now governor just as Amaechi a year ago is alleging bias on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the same security agencies that Amaechi had just a year ago alleged collaborated with Wike to shut out the APC from the polls.
Today, the political situation in the state would at best be described in a simple and popular parlance, ‘what goes around comes around.’
It appears that the APC is beginning to enjoy those rights and privileges that were at the disposal of the PDP in the last general elections with the appointment of Amaechi as the Minister of Transportation.
Amaechi had earlier vowed to regain the mandate of his party which he said was stolen by the ruling PDP in the state.
Like what happened during the 2015 elections, tension has been raised in the state because of the alleged antics being employed by both political parties to grab power.
It is thus not surprising that people are fidgeting that the elections would not be an easy experience because the parties appear to be desperate.
The PDP has vowed its determination to hold on to what it got last year.
Speaking, Wednesday, in Port Harcourt at the stakeholders’ meeting ahead of the elections, the Rivers State Chairman of PDP, Bro Felix Obuah stated that amidst intimidations by the APC that his party will reclaim all the legislative seats.
Obuah complained that the APC was trying to rig the elections with the help of the security operatives deployed in the state. He urged his supporters to come out en mass to vote amidst intimidations from the APC.
Speaking in the same function, the Rivers State Chairman of the APC, Chief Davies Ikanya expressed confidence that his party would win all the seats.
Ikanya stated that his party was not interested in rigging, adding that it had not rigged elections before. He said that the APC would win overwhelmingly in a free, fair and credible election.
We’ll conduct unbiased rerun polls — INEC
Meanwhile, the INEC has vowed to conduct free and unbiased rerun elections.
The Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Aniede Ikoiwak on arrival in the state promised that all the political parties would be allowed equal playing field.
Ikoiwak who reiterated the stand of the commission, Wednesday, noted that all the electoral guidelines stipulated by the INEC on the conduct of an election would be followed strictly.
The approach to tomorrow’s elections has been marked with much bloodletting which has now attracted the attention of the president leading to a face off between him and leaders of the PDP in other parts of the country.
The killings that are perceived to be politically motivated have induced fear in the minds of voters. Not surprisingly, many people are afraid that there would be violence by or before tomorrow given the inciting comments credited to some politicians in the state and their desperation to grab or hold on to power by all means.
In response, the Nigerian Police has deployed 6000 policemen led by the DIG, Mr. Wakama to complement those on ground to beef up security to ensure a peaceful and safe elections.