Rivers rerun: APC, PDP set to clash in final showdown over Etche, Omuma FeaturedWritten by BEKEE ANYALEWECHI
The All Progressives Congress, APC, and its chief opponent, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are set for battle as eligible voters return to cast the final ballots in Etche and Omuma for the suspended December 10 state and national legislative rerun. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had cancelled elections in most polling units in those areas alleging violence and irregularity. However, APC alleged that INEC only danced to the tune of PDP in Rives State by the cancellations, saying the electoral body cancelled the areas where it(APC) was leading while it announced results in the areas PDP had the edge.
During the December 10 rerun, the police arrested Mr. Charles Anyanwu, a former local government chairman of Etche and currently Special Assistant(Youths) to the Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. Anyanwu was accused of illegally possessing firearms but was later released. The Neighbourhood gathered that Mr. Anyanwu is a strong determinant in who wins Saturday polls in the area. Candidates are seeking election into the Etche State Constituency and the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, respectively. There are possibilities Rivers State Governor, Mr. Ezebuwon Nyesom Wike, who The Neighbourhood gathered sneaked into the area under the cover of darkness on Friday, will clash with Anyanwu on Saturday who had reportedly vowed to keep him away from the area. Though Wike is not from the area, he was reported to have vowed to monitor the election in person tomorrow.
Election will hold in select Units in the 29 Wards in Etche and Omuma. Etche has 19 of the electoral Wards while Omuma has 10.
Chief Jerome Eke is flying PDP’s flag for the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency while a returnee federal lawmaker, Ogbonna Nwuke, is the APC candidate. For the House of Assembly, Mr. Tony Ejiogu is running on the platform of PDP and had had his earlier win enmeshed in controversy quashed by an Election Petition Tribunal while Mr. Golden Chioma, who is seeking re-election, is holding the APC ticket.
The candidates have high stakes but on normal day, Mr. Nwuke, whose father, Chief Jonas Nwuke, was an old political warhorse in Nigeria’ First Republic, would carpet Mr. Eke, a flamboyant business with little experience in lawmaking. However, if by any means Mr. Eke snatches victory on Saturday, the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency would be sending a political and legislative greenhorn.
For the State House of Assembly seat in contest, Tony Ejiogu of the PDP is a sophomore when it comes to anything lawmaking. However, it was gathered that Mr. Wike preferred him as reward for the role he played in Wike’s controversial victory during the March 29 governorship election in Rivers State. Ejiogu belongs to Wike’s radicalized youth wing of his political structure, Grassroot(sic) Democratic Initiative, GDI. Many have accused GDI of being an armed group but security operatives had yet to show any evidence to that.
Prior to the December 10, 2016 rerun, accusations had trailed Mr. Ejiogu’s style of representation during his brief stay in the House before the Tribunal annulled his declaration.
One native of Etche had petitioned thus, “I hold this view that no politician should see the people of Etche as votes. We are a people. But alas, Tony Ejiogu will never learn. To him, his constituents are just an amalgam of votes and nothing more. Against all known democratic values, Tony was foisted on the people of Constituency 2. After a rigged election, against the choice of his people, he was sworn in to represent his people in the House of Assembly. Tony stopped picking calls, stopped coming home, stopped his people from visiting his office. He never offered help to students who approached him for school fees or help. In the time he stayed as a member of the House, he did not bring any development to his people.
“Come Dec. 10, Tony Ejiogu will be shown a red card. We will make a bold statement; you can't take Etche for granted anymore.
Etche is the battleground tomorrow, with Mr. Wike vowing to “take it by all means” for his party, PDP. However, for APC, Etche is a must-win.
Follow The Neighbourhood tomorrow for updates on the Etche and Omuma polls.