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Opinion: Rivers Governorship Election: The Futility of Irresponsible Propaganda – By Simeon Nwakaudu

Ibisaki Amachree, an INEC Adhoc Staff and mother of two, who was killed by rampaging soldiers bent on disrupting Collation, was buried at the Port Harcourt Cemetery on March 30, 2019. It was one of the most unfortunate acts of the Nigerian Army during the Rivers State Governorship Election as they worked with the AAC/APC Alliance to rob results across the state. Ibisaki worked in Degema Local Government Area and until untimely death in the hands of the AAC/APC/Army alliance was a holder of a Masters Degree.

The gruesome murder of Ibisaki Amachree was one of the sad stories that was mentioned during the stakeholders meeting on the resumption of electoral activities for the completion of outstanding 2019 General Elections in Rivers State on Saturday. The meeting was unanimous in rejecting any further roles for the Nigerian Army during the Collation Process, because of the established fact that they have been compromised.

Kenneth West of Rivers State Youth Leaders Assembly told a stunned INEC Stakeholders Meeting how Ibisaki Amachree was murdered by soldiers on the waterway of Bakana in Degema Local Government Area. She lost her life simply because the soldiers wanted to snatch the results of that locality.

All through that meeting, speaker after speaker expressed disgust with the negative roles played by the Nigerian Army in disrupting the Collation Process for the Governorship Election Results of Rivers State.

But the stakeholders made their contributions after the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) had outlined the processes for the conclusion of the Collation Exercise, which was the main business of the day.

The focus of this piece is the futile propaganda launched by The Nation Newspapers and other APC associates after the meeting. They left the kernel of that meeting and focused on lies, attempting to divert national attention from the way forward.

Rather than Highlight that the exercise stalled by the Nigerian Army would be concluded for the benefit of Rivers people, The Nation Newspapers screamed: “Collation of Rivers Result: Wike, Awara clash at stakeholders’ meeting ”

The Nation Newspapers Wrote: “The Two Men claiming victory in the March 9 inconclusive election in Rivers State met face to face yesterday in Port Harcourt, launching a diatribe on who between them be sworn in on May 29”.

From this very first paragraph, The Nation Newspapers struggled in vain to mislead Nigerians on what transpired at the stakeholders meeting. At no time, did Governor Wike and the AAC Governorship Candidate, Biokpomabo Awara clash at the meeting. There was no time at that meeting did anyone claim that he must be the person to be sworn in on May 29. The swearing-in ceremony was not mentioned, neither was it part of the agenda at that all-important meeting.

It is important to state that before Governor Wike started speaking, the AAC/APC Governorship Candidate had already staged a walkout. He spoke and refused to listen to other stakeholders. Instead, he walked out of the meeting and addressed The Nation Newspaper and NTA.

The concocted clash or so-called diatribe planted by The Nation in its front page is part of false propaganda launched by the AAC/APC alliance, using the Pro-APC Newspaper as the lead circulation medium. Before, during and after the Rivers State Governorship Election, The Nation Newspaper has made false propaganda, a cardinal goal in favour of the APC. It has worked desperately to justify the invasion of Collation Centres by the Nigerian Army and F-SARs, even when the International Community and other right-thinking groups have indicted the Army and demanded that perpetrators of the crimes against Rivers State be brought to Justice.

The lives wasted by the Nigerian Army in their failed quest to manipulate the electoral process in Rivers State have been relegated to the background by The Nation. For The Nation Newspaper, the entire AAC/APC misadventure cannot be faulted because Judas Is-Amaechi is a prominent APC financier.

There is no denying the fact that The Nation Newspaper reporter at the event came for the stakeholders meeting with a script. That script refused to play out, yet the newspaper published a figment of their imagination. Perhaps they planned a clash and diatribe, but nothing of the sort happened.

It was a peaceful and successful stakeholders meeting. All shades of opinion were canvassed. The political actors, the civil society groups, the religious leaders and the response from INEC. The security in and around the venue was tight. The police and operatives of the DSS were there in great number. They were well positioned to deter any unpatriotic person interested in causing the crisis.

Like other propaganda campaigns executed by The Nation Newspaper on behalf of the APC, this one has failed. It has proved to be another futile work by the media consultants of the AAC/APC alliance.
The successful stakeholders meeting had the following take-away key points that The Nation Newspaper tried to bury in their sensational propaganda:
The Collation and Declaration of Rivers State Governorship Election Results will take place between April 2 and 5 as scheduled;
INEC National Commissioner supervising Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers State, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu will coordinate the exercise transparently;
Duly Completed Collated Results of 17 LGAs are safe in INEC Strongroom ;
The 17 LGAS are: Ahoada East, Bonny, Akuku-Toru, Obio/Akpor, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Omuma, Port Harcourt, Ikwerre, Emohua, Tai, Opobo-Nkoro, Andoni, Eleme, Etche, Ogu–Bolo, Oyigbo, Okrika;
Six LGAs where Collation have not been concluded include Khana, Asari-Toru, Degema, Ahoada West, Abua/Odual and Gokana;
Supplementary Elections will be held for Abua/Odual and Gokana ;
Strict Guidelines were issued for the Rivers State Governorship Election Collation Exercise.

The handlers of The Nation Newspaper must realise that even in pandering to the whim of their owners in the promotion of pro-APC narratives, there should be a limit. Facts are sacred. It is irresponsible to allow the paper’s views to take the place of facts, especially in very sensitive issues like election coverage.

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