The nation’s spotlight is on Rivers State state where re-run elections are holding Saturday, March 19, 2016.
In the buildup to the elections, there have been heated rhetoric from officials of both parties. Governor Nyesom Wike of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former governor, Rotimi Amaechi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have locked horns in the media, both claiming dominance in the oil-rich state.
The Trent decided to hit the streets and feel the pulse of Rivers voters. We sent five reporters out to different local government areas in the state. Their mission?
Locate 20 random voters. Confirm if they have a Permanent Voters Card and if they are going to vote in the rerun elections. If they answer in the affirmative, our reporters demanded to see their PVCs. Only those who could show their PVC were asked how they intend to vote in today’s elections.
Our reporters approached a total of 337 residents of Rivers in five towns. 100 of them were able to present their PVCs to our research team. 99 respondents said they were going to vote for the PDP; only one of the respondents said he was planning to vote of the APC.
Below are snapshots of the demographic of the voters we spoke to in 5 towns in Rivers, namely, Bori Kiri in Port Harcourt LGA, Bodo in Gokara LGA, Elele in Ikwerre LGA, Rumukoro in Obio-Akpor LGA, and Rumuolumeni in Obio Akpor LGA.
Nancy, 29, hairdresser (F) – “I am PDP, through and through.”
Belema, 42, trader (F) – “I am for Wike, so PDP all the way.”
Jackson, 35, taxi driver (M) – “Rivers is PDP. I am PDP. Wike has done well.”
Madam Kofo, adult, market leader (F) – “PDP, of course.”
Rex, 44, engineer (M) – “I am voting PDP, at all levels.”
Catherine, 25, admin assistant (F) – “PDP.”
Timi, 40, truck driver (M) – “Rivers is PDP! I am a bonifide Rivers man. PDP, all the way!”
Chidi, 33, business owner (M) – “I am for PDP”.
Furo, adult, nurse (F) – “I am voting for PDP for all the posts”
Mercy, 40, street trader (F) – “Who will I vote for? PDP, of course.”
And the lone voter who said he was voting for APC?
Solomon, 46, taxi driver (M) – “I am voting APC, my cousin on my mother’s side is running for house of reps. I can’t go against my blood.”
The re-run elections are to fill 2 senatorial seats, 12 seats on the house of representatives, and 22 seats in the Rivers House of Assembly. Elections are taking place in 23 local government areas, 319 wards, and 4,442 polling units.
Due to security concerns, we will not publish the photos of the voters we interviewed.
Research reports by Chinda Amadi, Tamuno Tonye, Godspower Tambari, Douglas Nnegi, Common Spiff.