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Rivers Guber: The Futility of Propaganda and Falsehood


“This baseless international observers  report backed by a compromised media  working  in league  with the  APC created the false perception about the Rivers State Governorship Election.”

A day before the Supreme Court delivered the reasons  for its judgement on the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike was at the Supreme Court premises  to attend  the  meeting of the Body of Benchers. He has been attending this meeting  for three years  as a distinguished  member  of  this August Assembly. This was on Thursday,  February 11, 2016.

As usual,  the APC bent on maligning the  integrity  of  the Supreme Court and the Judiciary planted a few hatchet Reporters on ground.  They doled out their poorly scripted falsehood claiming  that  Governor Wike was summoned by the Body of Benchers  to be quizzed. These reporters blinded by destructive politics could not do the simple due diligence  of finding out why Governor Wike  was at the Supreme Court. 

The dissemination  of  propaganda and falsehood,  using pliant media conspirators has always  been  the underlying  factor in the misconception  about the Rivers State Governorship Election and the ensuing long legal battle  that terminated at the Supreme Court. 

After the governorship election won by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Former Governor Amaechi’s Media Consultant, Humphrey Bekaren masquerading as the leader of international  observers  who monitored the elections, expectedly  wrote a false report about proceedings on April 11 and 12 of 2015. This baseless international observers  report backed by a compromised media  working  in league  with the  APC created the false perception about the Rivers State Governorship Election. 

The worst was to come during  the  hearing of the petition  filed by  the  defeated Rivers State APC Governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside  at Election Petition Tribunal which sat in Abuja.  It was an unprecedented  conspiracy  of biased reporting heavily sponsored  by  the  APC  with tax payers money.  The objective  was to build the negative  impression that  would justify  the  nullification of Governor Wike’s election .

While the soldiers, policemen and DSS operatives detailed by the powers that be came to testify at the Tribunal,  there was an ungodly  silence  on the cross examination  by the respondents  lawyers.  All these security  personnel  right inside the tribunal  confessed that they did not participate in the election  at the polling unit. They admitted under cross examination  that they did not  arrest anyone  involved in violence  and that they had no report of cases of violence. These realities were deliberately hidden from Nigerians  by the media. 

The Police and DSS operatives  who participated  in  that election were subpoenaed  by Governor Wike. They told the Tribunal  that the  governorship election was peaceful,  free and fair.  These were the  officers who coordinated security  during  the  election.  These facts were not brought to  the  reading  public. 

At the  Tribunal, the APC made no attempt  to call  relevant  witnesses to prove allegations  of electoral malpractice and violence.  They merely relied on their paid media associates  to mislead the  public. 

The Judgment of the Supreme Court and the explanation thereof have put paid to the falsehood  and propaganda  which formed the premise  of the Rivers State APC  Governorship challenge.  The Rivers APC knowing  that  they had no case resorted to media blackmail  and propaganda  even before the Supreme Court made public its reasons for upholding the election of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike .

Even Prof Attahiru Jega,  immediate  past INEC Chairman said this of the Rivers State Governorship election: 

“We created a three man team to investigate the allegations of electoral malpractice, it was not true that elections didn’t take place in majority of the state, it was not true that results sheets was manipulated. There was no evidence of malpractice or photocopied result sheets, and no substantive evidence to establish alterations.”

The  Rivers State APC  celebrated falsehood after the governorship election.  They held Nigerians  spellbound  by their unfortunate  scheming,  but forgot  that at the level of  the Supreme Court only the  law and evidence  adduced  count.

Speaking  on  APC’S  failed petition  against  his election,  Governor Wike  said: 

“In their petition, they said they would show in the course of trial, video coverage where people were thumb-printing, where people were killed and that they would use forensic examination to show that there was multiple thumb-printing but not one was shown even by the forensic expert.

“The Tribunal granted them leave to go and inspect. Ask them what was the result of the inspection? Did they tender any document to show that this was the result of our inspection?

“If you say that there was violence, if you say people died in the course of the election, if you say that some people were kidnapped, does it not dawn on you to show evidence of those who died in that election. That you need to let the tribunal know that these are the people that were kidnapped.

“As I speak to you, let them mention one death certificate that was tendered at the Tribunal to show that during this election that Mr. Z died or Mr. Y was kidnapped”.

The Supreme Court  has  explained  that  the  Rivers APC failed to  prove the allegations  of  over-voting, violence  and electoral  malpractice  contained  in its petition.  The Supreme  Court further stated that the defeated political  party failed to prove polling  unit  by  polling unit  that the  governorship  election  did not  hold in Rivers State. 

Most significantly,  the Supreme Court  held that Governor Wike  was denied fair hearing by the trial tribunal. 

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who read the lead judgment declared: “in order to prove non-accreditation and over-voting, the 1st and 2nd respondents were bound to rely on the voters register in respect of all the affected local governments. The voters register tendered were only in respect of 11 out of 23 local governments. They were tendered from the bar; no attempt was made to link them with exhibit A-9. It is also noteworthy that forms EC8A were tendered in respect of only 16 out of 23 local government areas.

“This cannot meet the required standard of proving over-voting polling unit by polling unit. Furthermore, the voters’ register could not be jettisoned in the exercise”.

On the  card reader, Justice Kekere-Ekun  stated:  

“I am of the view and I do hold that the tribunal and lower court were unduly swayed by the INEC directive on the use of the card reader. As held by this court, the INEC directives and manual cannot be elevated above the provisions of the Electoral Act so as to eliminate manual accreditation of voters. This will remain so until INEC take steps to have the necessary amendments made to bring the usage of the card reader within the ambit of the substantive Electoral Act. It was for this reason that that I resolved these two issues in favour of the appellant”.

Stressing  that  the  Rivers State APC Governorship candidate failed to  prove his several allegations  of  non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the conduct of the governorship election, the Supreme Court held: 

“He has an onerous task, for he must prove it polling unit by polling unit, ward by ward. And the standard of proof is on the balance of probability. He must show figures that the adverse party was credited with and the result of the non-compliance. It is only then that the respondents are to lead evidence in rebuttal. It is also the law that were the commission of crime by a party is directly in issue in any proceeding, civil or criminal, it must be proved beyond every reasonable doubt. The burden of prove is on the person who asserts it”.

The Supreme Court explained further: “throughout the length and breadth of the petition, such as hijacking and diversion of election materials, the illegal thumb printing of ballot papers, falsification of results, violence and kidnapping of electoral officers”, were not proved beyond every reasonable doubt.

“Where crimes are alleged, the ingredients of the offences must be proved. This they failed to do.”

On the  card reader report that formed the  basis  of  the Tribunal and Court of Appeal decision to nullify Governor Wike’s  election, the Supreme Court discredit it thus:

“Exhibit A-9 was tendered as conclusive proof of the number of accredited voters at the election. As stated earlier, PW-49 did not participate at any stage of the election process in Rivers State. What is evident from the extracts of the testimony of the PW-49 is that exhibit A-9 cannot be a conclusive proof of the number of accredited voters at the election. The witnesses are acknowledged that there are circumstances when the card reader did not read the voters’ PVC, in which case incident forms are used. No incident forms were tendered by the 1st and 2nd respondents.”

According to the Supreme Court, out of 66 witnesses that were called by APC and Peterside, 18 of them were ward collation agents who received information from polling agents from the various units, saying their evidence was not tied to any of the exhibits tendered. In other words,  no fundamental  attempt was made to prove the petition  outside  of  the  inordinate  reliance  on  propaganda  and falsehood. 

The take-away in the Supreme Court’s  confirmation of Governor Wike’s election is the fact that  elections  can only be won at the polling unit. It cannot be won on the laptops  of compromised international observers, the pages of  pliant  newspapers  or blogs and cannot be won via press conferences  held under the shades of trees in abandoned  party Secretariats. The Supreme Court has made it  clear  with its decision  on the Wike appeal that election  cannot be  won via the manipulation of facts by so called civil society  crooks empowered by the powers that be  to intimidate  the  judiciary  by making outlandish  claims. 

Beyond basking in the euphoria  of ill-conceived  press conferences  and the posting of baseless  pictures  on Facebook, the Rivers APC did nothing  to show that the party suffered any form of electoral  violence  engineered by the PDP  on election day. 

Mr Rotimi Amaechi, leader of Rivers State is a kingpin of make-believe  which he has transferred  to his political godson, Dakuku Peterside. Amaechi  ruined the security of Rivers State and attempted to play the victim  in order to benefit  from  his governance crime.  The Rivers people  completely  rejected APC  because  the actors of the party in the state are notorious administrative  failures who squandered  the resources of the state.  

Despite the glaring and convincing  reasons  given by the Supreme Court on its confirmation of Governor Wike’s election, nobody  expects the  APC  to have the grace to act responsibly .  They have been infected  with the propaganda and falsehood virus. Therefore,  they will continue to spew unreasonable and unconscionable allegations against  the  judiciary. 

The positive in this situation  is that the truth  has triumphed over the forces of propaganda and falsehood.  The people of Rivers State have emerged from this situation stronger and better. They have a governor  they elected at their respective  polling  units. They have won against   revenue robbers who only see the financial benefits from the state and care less about the future of the people. Rivers is New and that is what matters.

By Simeon Nwakaudu

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