PDP, APC trade words over arrest of 21 INEC staff
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its All Progressives Congress, APC, counterpart in Rivers State, yesterday, traded words over purported arrest of 21 Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, adhoc staff who served in the last re-run elections.
State Chairman of the party, Mr Felix Obuah, who spoke through his media aide, Mr Jerry Needam, alleged that those arrested were first detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, before they were moved to Abuja to confess that they were bribed by Governor Nyesom Wike during the re-run elections.
On its part, APC, through its spokesman, Mr Chris Finebone, said the PDP was panicking because the staff could spill the beans on the rerun elections, saying it might have confirmed suspicion of the APC that the PDP smuggled some of its members into the INEC list as adhoc staff. This came as the state Police command, declined comment on the issue, saying since the PDP said the matter was in Abuja, the Force Public Relation Officer, FPRO, was in a better position to speak on it. Spokesman of the state’s Police command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, who
said since the party alleged that the matter was in Abuja then it was beyond his powers to comment. “The IGP’s spokesman is the one to speak,” he said. Similarly, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the state, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, told Vanguard that he was not aware that some adhoc staff of the commission were in the custody of security agencies.
The PDP, however, in its statement, claimed a source hinted that more arrests would be made and those allegedly in the custody of security operatives in Abuja would be paraded before the media by the Police.
The party said: “Regrettably, the Police in the Rivers State have become a tool of witch-hunt by the Federal Government and certain Rivers politicians of the APC.
We call on well-meaning Nigerians to rise against this ugly trend and abuse of responsibility by the Police high command and the APC leadership in trying to silence the opposition by wrongly indicting innocent citizens, the Rivers State government and leaders of the PDP in the state.”
But APC said: “We do not see why the PDP should be too worried that ad-hoc staff of INEC or indeed anybody, is invited by the Police to assist them on any issue. How that becomes a source of worry for the PDP is baffling to us.
Could it be a confirmation of our long-held suspicion that PDP smuggled their members into the INEC ad-hoc staff list to do their bidding? Or could the investigation of the ad-hoc staff possibly lead to the unravelling of possible extent and dimensions of compromise of INEC officials by Governor Nyesom Wike and the PDP hence the apprehension and false alarm?.”
The party said if truly the adhoc staff were arrested it should ordinarily not generate frenzy, adding that security operatives should go about their jobs.