Nyesome Wike, Governor of Rivers state has placed a bounty of N1bn on Engineer Awara Biokpomabo, the guber candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) over his refusal withdraw his petition contesting the 2019 governorship elections in the state.
Wike of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) polled 886,264 votes while Awara came second with 179,859 votes.
A source told SaharaReporters that Wike had sent Awara’s kinsmen from the Kula council of chiefs from Akuku-Toru local government area to visit AAC's Awara in a bid to convince him to pull out his petition before the Rivers state election petition tribunal. Wike has succeeded already in bribing candidates of two other political parties to withdraw their petition.
Parties such as the Labour Party (LP) on May 23, 2019, withdrew its petition filed by its guber candidate Isaac Wonwu after inducement from governor Wike. On the same day, the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) through its counsel Chibuzor Ezike withdrew it's petition after it was also settled by the governor.
After the entreaties, Awara told the chiefs he would consult with Rivers stakeholders and the AAC party leadership; a move which infuriated the governor.
King of Kula, King Amabibi Eleki, Sara XIV appealed to Awara on behalf of Wike to seek out-of-court settlement and withdraw his petition from the election petition tribunal.
The source added that despite the money expended by Governor Wike to facilitate the visit (which is more than money paid to his deputy running mate Bombaye), Awara had remained 'stubborn' and unyielding.
Wike's anger the source told SaharaReporters is heightened by the relaxed stance of the PDP in Rivers state on the matter which he considers urgent as well as the fact that the tribunal judges "cannot be trusted".
Last week, all members of the tribunal were replaced by the President of the Court of Appeal after it was revealed that Wike might have infiltrated the tribunal.
Inside sources in Gov. Wike's circle said he has designated a squad mandated with silencing Awara for giving him "sleepless nights knowing how the election was announced".
Governor Wike is said to have boasted that he can bribe INEC with N20bn to announce him winner, he also insisted that can bribe election petition tribunal members with no less than N30bn while Supreme Court Justices he said will get N50bn if needs be.
Election Petition Tribunal Compromised
Governor Wike is said to have compromised the former election petition tribunal judges who are Justice G.K Kagama, (Chairman), Justice L.G Abdulkadiri and Justice Ola Tokunmbo Bambosha. The judges were quietly relieved of their duties last week.
Under the tribunal led by Dogon-Daji, Wike had tried to forcibly change the Awara's lawyer, Tawo E. Tawo (SAN) through a letter sent by the expelled Secretary of the AAC, Leonard Ezenwa who is known to be financed by the Rivers state governor.
Wike sought to replace Tawo with H.A Bello, Esq a known PDP sympathizer as a way to whittle down the case and get it tossed out.
The new panel of judges Wike plans to bribe consists of three members, Honorable Justice K.C Ojiako, Honorable Justice Olawoyin and Justice Khadi Ahmed Mohammed.
Wike recently financed the disgraced former Secretary of the AAC, Leonard Ezenwa to stage a takeover of the party claiming he was elected by a group of non-party members as “Acting Chairman”.
INEC threw about Ezenwa's claims by releasing a public memo distancing itself from the actions of the expelled Secretary as well as denying knowledge of his plans or meetings as required by law.
Mr. Ezenwa has since gone to a Federal High Court where he presented forged documents and fake meeting notes to obtain a court injunction against authentic party leaders while he arduously works to help Wike frustrate Mr. Awara's petition at the tribunal.