Skip to main content

APC Governorship Candidate, Cole, Others Protest At INEC Office Over Lack Of Access To Election Documents

March 31, 2023

The protest was against INEC’s alleged refusal to allow them access to the Certified True Copies of documents used at the March 18 gubernatorial election.


The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, and other members of the party on Friday stormed the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The protest was against INEC’s alleged refusal to allow them access to the Certified True Copies of documents used at the March 18 gubernatorial election.

The APC candidate, Cole, and his running mate, Dr. Innocent Barikor, who led the protest, alleged that while they had only 21 days to file their petition challenging the outcome of the election, the electoral umpire was deliberately frustrating them from approaching the Election Petitions Tribunal to prove their case against the election.

Punch reports that speaking with newsmen at the INEC office located along Aba Road, Port Harcourt, during the protest attended by the APC Chairman in the state, Emeka Beke and the State Publicity Secretary, Darlington Nwauju, Cole said that they were at the INEC office to express their frustrations over the attitude of the commission in the state.

Cole was quoted as saying, “I am not happy at all. We have come to INEC to express our deep frustration at what is going on. Essentially, we are time bound. We have 21 days from the time that the election results were declared, to file our petitions.”

According to him, some of the party’s State House of Assembly candidates had their declaration on March 18 which was the day of election, saying that “Two weeks have gone since we wrote to INEC. We requested from INEC to release CTC documents, but nothing was done.

“They have not released one single CTC document. And we have to prepare a brief, we have to go to Court. We have to prepare for Tribunals.”

The APC guber candidate maintained that INEC has refused to act on a court order which the party secured asking the commission to release the documents to enable the party to proceed to the Tribunal, describing the act as “suspicious”.

He added that “We have got court orders. They have been ignored. It tells me that something is going on. I believe that at this point in time, the onus is on INEC, as an independent election administrator, to be fair.”

Speaking further, he said, “Give us what we need, so that we can go to court. Let us go to the tribunal and present a case. But if you release documents to us a day before the tribunal, what do we do?”

Cole, who disclosed he had spoken with the state Resident Electoral Commissioner added that “He has promised that by Monday, something will happen. So, we will be back on Monday.”

Insisting that there were some irregularities in the March 18 election, Cole said that “Asari-Toru is a clear example. The results were totally changed.”

“The DG was at the collation centre, he made a protest against it. It was still accepted. Having been accepted, then, give us the document, let us review what happened. Nobody is answering us. I am very suspicious.”

In the same vein, the state APC Legal Adviser, Dike Iheanyichukwu, while speaking on the issue alleged that the state INEC might have been “compromised.”

Iheanhichukwu reportedly threatened that the party will shut down the commission’s office on Monday if their demands were not met.

“We have made applications, asking INEC, Rivers State, to oblige us of CTC of EC8A, EC8B, EC8C, EC8D and other related EC series, as concerned elections.

“As I speak to you, INEC has not been able to give us a single document. And what we are talking about is going to the tribunal to seek redress. So, what INEC is doing is intentional. I have here a court order compelling INEC to allow us inspect documents, for them to give us a CTC. This order has been duly served on INEC. They have decided to disobey the law.

“I wonder why the REC cannot instruct his principal staff here to release CTC results. It is our right to demand it. Why are they denying us?” he said.