The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State has commended the Nigerian military for their role in the controversial governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, the Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Chris Finebone, said the military ought to be commended, not vilified for “securing the peace” during the election. But many observers and stakeholders have faulted for gross irregularities and interference by military personnel in the elections.
The process of collation and declaration of the winners of the Rivers State elections, which held on Saturday, March 9 were suspended indefinitely by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, following complaints of disruptions and violence.
INEC said it would make a pronouncement on the election after a panel it set up to investigate the complaints had filed its report.
But Finebone said being an active stakeholder in the election, (the APC in Rivers State which backed the candidates of the AAC) the party had to come out to speak.
He said the criticisms about the role of the military in the elections have been orchestrated by the Rivers State Government, which he said, came into power four years ago through an election that took the lives of more than 40 people.
“As a party that was solely at the receiving end of killings in Rivers State by the ruling PDP and their agents, the APC believes that the proactive steps taken by security agents to checkmate a repeat of the 2015 killings and destructions, is commendable and should be applauded by all peace-loving people.
“We believe that if such a step was taken before or during the 2015 elections and thereafter, prominent APC members such as late Chief Christopher Adube and his five children and driver would not have been murdered in one fell swoop by PDP agents in ONELGA,” he alleged.
He further said, “We are satisfied that the 2019 general elections is a clear departure from the orgy of violence and killings that characterised the 2015 elections. However, we send our heart-felt sympathy to the families of the slain INEC ad-hoc staff, Mrs. Ibisaki Amachree, who died under curious circumstances while serving her fatherland during the Presidential and National Assembly elections. We also send our profound condolences to the families of the lieutenant of the Nigerian Army and other officers and men who were targeted and killed or injured by criminals in the state.”
The APC publicity secretary accused a section of local and international observers of failing to appreciate the role the military played in ensuring that people came out to vote last Saturday.
He denied allegations that the military interfered in the electoral process in Rivers State, saying the allegations amounted to “a clever narrative being planted in the media to particularly blackmail the military and the federal government into pulling out security agents from the state and returning it to the killing field many of us witnessed before, during and after the 2015 elections till date.”