By Gbenga Oke
It was a disaster long predicted to happen. When eventually the presidential election took place penultimate weekend, it neither passed the benchmark of the foreign observers nor that of many other domestic observers.
The violence that marred the presidential election in the state was as expected escalated during the governorship and legislative elections given the determination of the local champions to sustain their political leverages.
In the end as many as six persons were killed and many others injured in the election that as at press time was predicted to return the PDP to power.
The incumbent governor of the state, Governor Rotimi Amaechi who marshalled the successful All Progressives Congress, APC presidential campaign has, however, cried foul alleging that elections did not take place in most areas of the country. According to him the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP simply wrote results with the assistance of security men.
To many, several issues led to the fracas, bombings and shootings that turned the state into a war zone and led to the relegation of the peace accord signed by the PDP governorship candidate, Nyesom Wike and Dakuku Peterside, governorship candidate of APC.
Even though Rivers is considered a stronghold of the PDP, the movement of Governor Amaechi into the APC led to the shift of political allegiances that made the state a battle ground state.
This was especially given the fact that the outgoing First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan hails from the state.
One puzzle for many is the incongruity of Amaechi delivering only 65,000 plus votes to his candidate in the presidential election when the PDP scored more than 1,4 million votes.
The conclusions by some analysts posited that the situation in Rivers can simply be termed as the more you look, the less you see.
The First Lady factor
The first lady is seen by many as the brain behind the victory of PDP in Rivers State and though she was not very visible in the last days, she was reported to have returned to her native Okirika base last Thursday to plan the last onslaughts against Amaechi’s political legacy.
She has been accused of fanning the embers of discord in the build up to the general elections and her factor was one of the major reasons why the state became more volatile in the build up to the elections.
During the governorship elections, some Okrika people also claimed there was widespread intimidation of voters a development that reportedly made many voters to stay away from the polls.
Ethnicity was a major factors that brought about trouble ahead of the governorship polls. There was division among elders in the state on whom to vote for as the battle was simply seen as that between the upland and the Riverrine areas.
While it is believed it’s the turn of the Riverrine people to produce a governor of the state, the entrance of Wike into the race eventually threw majority of the people off the balance.
That was against the background of the fact that Wike is from the same Ikwere ethnic group that produced Amaechi as governor.