Rivers APC accuses INEC of withholding document required to prepare for tribunal

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the just-concluded election in Rivers State, Patrick Tonye-Cole has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of delaying to release documents that are needed for their case at the tribunal.

Tonye-Cole, during a protest at the state head office of INEC on Friday in Port Harcourt, expressed concern that the electoral umpire has allegedly refused to release the documents used for the last elections for them to pursue their case at the tribunal.

According to Tonye-Cole, the demand became necessary following the time frame stipulated for legal actions as regards the election.

He accused INEC of violating the court order that directed APC to inspect material used for the conduct of the election.

The APC guber candidate, challenged INEC in Rivers State to release the documents if they feel they conducted a free, fair and credible election on March 18.

He, however, threatened that he, his party members and supporters will occupy the INEC head office in the state on Monday, if the documents are not released.

“Two weeks have gone by, and we’ve requested for INEC to release CTC documents. Two weeks, nothing, they’ve not released one single CTC document. And we have to prepare a brief; we have to go to court, we have to prepare for a Tribunal.

“We have gotten court orders, they’ve been ignored. It tells me that something is going on. I don’t know what it is and I don’t want to believe the worst in INEC.

“I believe that at this particular point in time, the onus is on INEC as an independent regulator, to be fair. Give us what we need, so that we can go to court. Let us go to the Tribunal to present the case.

“If you release documents to us, a day to the Tribunal, what do we do? We go unprepared.

“We’ve come here on Friday, unfortunately there is nobody in the office. I’ve spoken to the REC, and he has promised that on Monday, something will happen. So, we’ll be back on Monday,” Tonye-Cole said.

Also, the state legal Adviser of the APC in Rivers State, Iheanyichukwu Dike and House of Assembly candidate for Accord Party, for Akuku Toru state constituency, Bob-Emmanuel Ebinabo-Isa questioned the rationale behind the delay by INEC to release necessary documents to aggrieved political parties.

They called on the National leadership of INEC and the Federal government to call INEC officials in Rivers State to order.

No official of INEC came physically to address the aggrieved candidates and party members, except the Residents Electoral Commissioner, Johnson Sinikiem who responded to a phone call by APC governorship candidate.

Sinikiem, however, assured them that the required documents will be made available to the candidates by Monday April 3.

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