05.05.2011 Nigeria

RIGGING IMPUNITY DESTROYING NIGERIA:Nigeria Must Practise DemocracyTo Survive As A Nation State

05.05.2011 LISTEN
By Mosop Media

Says Dr. Goodluck Diigbo who insists that recent governorship election in Rivers State is not over. Dr. Goodluck Diigbo is the Hope Democratic Party, Rivers State Governorship Candidate

“The time is rapidly coming when democracy must be practised in Nigeria, if we are to survive as a nation-state. We must allow proper voting during elections and allow the will of the voters to determine the outcome. Election rigging can break-up a nation state, just as dictatorship does anywhere,” said Dr. Goodluck Diigbo, Hope Democratic Party (HDP) Governorship Candidate in Rivers State.

INEC is a part of us all. Its electoral personnel are Nigerians. Their loyalty should be first to Nigeria. This can only be affirmed by their neutrality in the conduct of elections. Acting as if under the control and direction of an incumbent candidate was shameful. Compromising impartiality means compromising the democratic survival of Nigeria.

“During the 26th April Governorship and House of Assembly Elections, the INEC cooperating with the PDP Candidate led-Government of Rivers State sent armed forces in military trucks to invade more than 500 polling stations in Ogoniland. At least 1,000 polling agents that represented Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) were threatened and physically attacked. The forces halted voting, snatched ballot boxes and disallowed counting of votes at polling stations as required by Electoral Act 2010. I was in my village of Teyork (formerly called Teyor Kaani). At the time that the armed forces arrived, I was on the phone with a representative of the E.U. Observer Mission. The E.U. representative heard sounds of intensive shootings by armed forces snatching ballot boxes. It lasted over one hour at that particularly polling station. The armed forces snatched the ballot box at that Unit No. 9 in Ward 6 of Khana Local Government Area, where I had voted. Accreditation ended at about 12.30 pm and was followed by voting until about 3.51pm Nigerian Time. The armed forces had arrived in four military vehicles. The one with registration label PF1907 was blaring siren. Similarly, the combined forces in different and separate groups of soldiers (JTF), Mobile Police Force and Regular police went round Ogoniland to snatch ballot boxes. The forces sort of replaced the socalled militants in past elections. The INEC officers appointed to conduct the elections cooperated with the armed forces,” said Dr. Diigbo.

For instance, “PDP Candidate Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi did not win in Rivers State. It was a phony thing to say, he did, when, in reality, he did not. Citizens elect a governor in a democracy; not the electoral body. INEC as the body to conduct election does not have a say, other than to arrange and count votes and announce the outcome. INEC belongs to all of us. Its personnel must keep it impartial; in order to plead and urge the cause for democracy in Nigeria.”

From Abuja, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo told MOSOP Media that a false governorship election result was released by INEC in Port Harcourt. “We must end this impunity of election rigging. What happened in Rivers State was Election Day Terrorism. The story of HDP Boss, Chief Namadam made my stomach ache. The wife and children were in tears all over the place. My father, about 103 years was deeply baffled,” Dr. Diigbo said.

Chief (Hon.) Hycienth Namadam, HDP State Chairman was tricked into conversation by some armed forces amidst the heavy shootings. The story caught fire and children, women and men defied the shootings and chased his abductors until they fled away with ballot boxes and Namadam. He was later dumped along the East-West Road in the early hours of April 26, 2011. “Something sickening happened to me,” Said Chief Namadam. “I was tricked into a conversation by the forces and soon got dragged into a waiting van and blind-folded by those young men. It was clearly an act of shame for our democracy. Where will this kind of democracy lead Nigeria?” said Chief Namadam aged over 60 years.

Dr. Diigbo said: “the democratic mind-set in Port Harcourt is solidly in a terrible mess and INEC has to extricate itself.” One of Diigbo's solicitors is convinced that unless Dr. Goodluck Diigbo is declared the Rivers State governor-elect, it seems obvious that a properly monitored governorship election must be conducted to get a lawful administration constituted.

“The only thing that can hold-up a fresh election will be delay in court or tribunal or the result of natural disasters or other emergencies. Otherwise, I do not see any other option for Rivers State towards a stable democracy in Nigeria,” Dr. Diigbo remarked.

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