Finally, after a tidious electoral process spanning almost a month after the main election was over, the never-say-die incumbent Governor of River state and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was yesterday declared winner of the March 9 governorship poll.
The Returning Officer for the state, Prof Teddy Adias of the Niger Delta University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, declared Wike winner of the election after the collation of results from 21 of the states 23 local government areas.
Prof. Adias said Wike polled 886, 264 votes to defeat the African Action Congress (AAC) candidate, Biokpamabo Awara, who scored 173, 859.
Declaring Wike winner, the returning officer said: “That I, this day confirm that I am the returning officer for this election and that Nyesom Wike of the PDP, having satisfied requirement of the law and scored the highest number of the votes, is hereby declared winner and stand elected.”
According to the professor, 1, 130, 445 were accredited out of the 3, 048, 741 voters registered across the state for the elections. He gave the valid votes as 1, 123, 840 and 249, 324 votes either cancelled, or voided.
Reacting to the development, AAC representative Nenye Okocha said: “As a party, we cannot begin to react at this time; we will have to look and study the result and then come up with our reactions.
“In the face of what has happened in this venue in the last two days, it is transparent, but what happened here at INEC is different from what has happen on the field – most of the complaints that we heard, the protestations and the issues we raised had to do with what happened on the field. We have to marry the two together and that is why we will need time to study the two before we can come up with our reactions.”
On his composure throughout the collation process, Okocha said: “Belligerence is not it, this is AAC, this is not PDP or APC; this is a new party with a new vision that is trying to carry Nigerians along to a new way of thinking and reformation.
“We don’t have to do things in the way it has been done in the past – thuggery, scandals and others – that is not the path the AAC is tolling, all the activities you’ve had in Rivers, the suspense, the protests, are the ways those that are supporting us in this state wish to express themselves, as a party, we are decent; we are bringing integrity into the electoral process and going foward, this is what you will continue to see.”
The PDP agent and former House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Austin Opara, congratulated Awara for his doggedness at the exercise and urged him to ignore any temptation for litigation.
A former deputy governor of the state, Tele Ikuru, who sad the margin was wide, said it would have been wider but for the militarisation of the state.