Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was caught on tape as he held a telephone with officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political thugs, youth groups and community representatives handpicked by him. In the telephone conversations, exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, Gov. Wike was arranging payments to the officials in exchange for their help in rigging the recently concluded legislative elections in the state.
The telephone conversations revealed the governor arranging with INEC officials, particularly those sent from Anambra and Plateau State who were paid in batches to rig the election for candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Etche, Khana, Ikwerre and other key local government areas in the state where Wike and his boasted they would overwhelm opponents with violence.
One of Mr. Wike’s phone calls went to a female operator, Betty Apiafi, a member of the Nigerian house of representatives who was complaining that the money offered by the governor was not sufficient for the rigging task. An infuriated Governor Wike told the woman that he had already paid the electoral coordinator for Plateau State. Betty bitterly complained that her people needed more money for the bloody task, saying things were tight. Wike asked her to come see him to pick up more funds.
At one point in the conversation, when Governor Wike was told that one of the electoral officers was reluctant to sign off on one of the result sheets, the governor threatened to demand his money back from the recalcitrant official. Then, as if not satisfied with his threat to collect back his money, Mr. Wike voiced his intent to kill a group of election officials from Plateau state, stating that they would not leave Rivers State alive.
The transcript below is the listening guide to the audio, the Youtube version uploaded above is subtitled in English
Governor Wike’s Domestic Aide -Owolobi “Owoh” Ofori
I've met Bello, met Opipa
They have discussed
Saying, when you get there
You should let them know, they will come
You should discuss
I can hear you
Owoh: You know, when I come in tomorrow, we will see
I don't know when I will come; that’s the problem
Go ahead with the mobilization, like I told you
On Saturday morning, Yeah?
All the Central Wards
It’s only us running an election
So make sure we mobilize all the youth from the Central Ward
We have at least a thousand...
About 1,500 youths.....
Okay, no problem sir
That will come out
Okay, I will touch different villages now
Yes, mobilize them
Anyway they go, follow them to march
By the time they see that we outnumber them 10 to 1
There's nothing they can do
So go and talk to the youth
I don't know how much you will give each community
Think about it
Give all the youth...
All the youth groups in the community
So that they will all come out on saturday morning
You hear me?
Think about it
Now, now, now oh...
10:33 we're moving now
Governor Nyesom Wike: Hello
You Excellency sir, good evening sir
What’s your position?
I'm.... at Eleme trying to cut out into Port Harcourt, Sir
I'm asking you what position you're in, you say...
Okay... i thought you were asking where i was
We're..... We have started our mobilization sir
The usual recruitment of boys and all that
We are also working on that too
So if they do proper election, you will win?
Okay....mobilize the people
..mobilize them... whatever they want,
we'll give to them
Where are they
Okay i saw him this evening
Because they were in the situation room
So he couldn't come out
So he now gave me three...
Coordinators....of the zones that are coming
So they texted me, they said they're coming
Tomorrow evening on Monday morning
So we agreed to see....in Port Harcourt
Coordinators of what?
You know the E.O's (Electoral Officers ) That are coming,
are coming from three zones
So the people coordinating the three of them
The three.... all of them
Three of them
The one from Anambra
Eh... South east and eh...
The three of them... They texted me
We made contact, so we'll talk more when we get to Port Harcourt
So that they can assemble the others
For us to meet
...Have you called the person
yes, the first one will soon be here
The first people will soon be here
The first group
Who's the second group
Thats the Plateau?
Yes the Plateau... (₦8m)..,(₦8m).. then (₦7m)
Then you will have eh...
When you start...
You will add (₦5m) for him like we
did with the other people
Anyway, when you've done that, you
should call me
Hello sir we've finished and all of them
have gone home
The.... all the town groups
All of them
Did they say anything?
Are they happy?
The last one came with who?
He came with four people
Those ones took time and put them in the
boxes for them
And carried it
Came with the four people who are part of them?
Part of his group..., yes
The Anambra person, yes
Okay, no problem, you people should wait till I'm coming
Betty Apiafi: Hello?
Owoh: Hello ma
But there's money that oga was giving today
And you didn't come and all the people i saw
I don't know, maybe...
He didn't tell me to come now...
Can you tell him...
This one is private, i said let me
Let me give you the phone
Is he there?
He is, he's eating
Let me give him the phone
Now I wanted to tell you..
Things are really tight
He gave some people about (₦5m).., (₦10m)..
I was wondering, that you left early, that’s why
My brother how will i do it now
Just hold on, hold on... let me tell him
Sir, i didn't see anything for A.E.O's
Governor Nyesom Wike: No, no, no, They've given them
I told them not to bother
Its tight, please give us more
Madam what we did was the...
Infact it's the proof
( Inaudible )
We don't need to give those ones
We don't need to E.O's (Electoral Officers)
You understand what i'm saying
What we held...
What we did was we wanted to help the main elections
Because of our people
Things are tight
But you only have one ward
What about the people who have four wards
My local government seven
How many units down?
Me i have 55 units
Me i have 65
But oga i have 7 wards
Sometimes 65 units can be one ward
Let's see what we can do
Owoh will call you back
Find small thing and give Owoh for me, please
Owoh will call you back
Okay sir, thank you sir
My Brother good evening
Evening....how work sir?
I dey ...it is Dum Deekor
Oga was trying to reach you
I dont know whether you have spoken to him
No... i've not
Let me check in
That time he said i should call
Your Excellency, Sir!
Governor Nyesom Wike: Yea whats the problem
Well there's no problem
Ask that they should move the thing to
Rack center, they refused
The usual intimidation
Intimidation by who now?
We know that's what they will do
Its just that ehh...
They were arriving late with this
Trying to put up disbursement and set up..
I don't know what you're saying
you're not sending out anything
who is intimidating you?
No....like me, nobody is intimidating me
We have people there
Tell everybody to be there
Ikwerre did it..
Ikwerre itself did it
They couldn't do anything
you understand me
Ikwerre local government did it
So the E.O (Electoral Officer) said he will not
I asked (inaudible) to insist that he should
The E.O (Electoral Officer) Posted from where?
ehh?... from Plateau?
I'll call....dont worry i'll call the Plateau man now
i'll tell him, if he does not return my this thing
i will deal with you...
No, let him just sign that's all
No, if it's that one, she should return whatever...
i'm going to make sure that i kill him in
Just don't worry
The man in Etche (LGA)
That i said he should warn
That he should warn
His man in Khana (LGA), ehh??..
That if he does rubbish
He should refund what we gave...
That if he tries it
I will make sure that he will never
leave this state
Tell him that, Tell him that
That he should warn him
If he's playing with people
He thinks that he will collect
And they will begin to do rubbish
Tell him that i said that they will
see what i'll do to him
If that’s how they do and then too....
I think the man in ehh....
The man in ehh....
Ikwerre (LGA)......is also Plateau
I think its also Plateau
so find out..
And tell him that...
In fact call the...call the three coordinators
That I said they should tell their people
If they want to joke with me, disturb me
I will kill them in this place before they leave
Or they should return what I gave or I will kill them
Just call the three of them...