Fidelis Soriwei and Chukwudi Akasike
The Independent National Electoral Commission has commenced investigation into a leaked audio tape allegedly involving the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and some officials of the commission.
Investigation revealed that the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has set up a high-powered four-man committee to carry a comprehensive investigation on the conduct of the commission’s officials in the December 10, 2016 rerun elections in Rivers State.
It was gathered that the leadership of the commission took the decision after a marathon meeting on Tuesday.
One of our correspondents gathered that the committee was mandated to unravel the controversies involving some INEC officials in the Rivers rerun polls.
The Deputy Director in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Nick Dazang, confirmed to our correspondent on the telephone that the commission had set up a four-man panel to investigate the activities of INEC personnel in the elections.
He said that the committee was entrusted with the responsibility of identifying those who conducted themselves well and those whose acts violated the rules of the commission.
He noted that those who did well in spite of the attacks on them would be commended while those found to have gone against the rules of the commission would be sanctioned.
Dazang said, “It is true that the commission has set up a four-man committee to investigate the roles of INEC staff in the Rivers National and State Assembly rerun elections of December 10, 2016.
“Among others, this high-powered committee is to identify those who did exceptionally well under difficult circumstances with a view to commending them.”
Meanwhile, the Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has dismissed the panel set up by the Inspector-General of Police to investigate the violence that took place during the legislative rerun elections in the state.
Describing the exercise as a hoax, the state PDP said that the inconsistencies and bias of the police during the rerun elections had made it difficult for any serious-minded person or group to take the panel set up by the police seriously.
The Chairman, Rivers PDP, Chief Felix Obuah, said in a statement on Tuesday that the police must prove to the people of the state that they (police) were not sympathetic to the All Progressives Congress.
According to the statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Jerry Needam, the state PDP chairman said, “For such a panel to make sense to Rivers people, the police high command, especially the Inspector-General of Police should first do the needful.
“The Inspector-General should do so by proving to Rivers people and, indeed, all Nigerians that he is not a member of the All Progressives Congress or sympathetic to APC’s cause.
“First and foremost, the police high command ordered and did withdraw all the orderlies attached to all politicians, only to turn back to attach all the orderlies withdrawn from PDP politicians to those of the APC.
“There was no APC candidate or chieftain on the day of the election that did have lesser than 50 policemen attached to him while those of the PDP were left to their own fates.”
He likened the police investigation panel by the IGP to a judge presiding over his own case, maintaining that the outcome of such a panel could easily be predicted.
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