Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was caught on tape as he held a telephone with officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), arranging payment to the officials in exchange for their help in rigging the recently concluded legislative elections in the state.
The telephone conversations, exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, revealed the governor arranging with INEC officials, particularly those sent from Plateau State, 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.
One of Mr. Wike’s phone calls went to a female INEC official 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 in Plateau State.
At one point in the conversation, when Governor Wike was told that one of the electoral officers was reluctant to sign 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 the official, stating that the man would not leave Rivers State alive.
The chilling telephone conversation has exposed the inner workings of Mr. Wike’s scheme to rig the recent election in his state and also the collusion of INEC officials in the illicit deals. Besides, the governor’s intimation of violence also pointed to the possible bloody nature of the games played between politicians who fund the rigging of elections and the electoral officials who facilitate the scheme for quick, and often substantial, cash payments.
SaharaReporters spoke to a top INEC official in Abuja who and he confirmed that most of the electoral officers who conducted the recently concluded legislative elections in Rivers State were drafted from Plateau and Oyo States. He added that some of the electoral officials were also drafted from one of the Southeastern states.