Rivers Presidential Collation Officer, Prof. Adias still receiving death threats


Professor Charles Adias

The Rivers State collation officer, Professor Charles Adias in the just concluded presidential election is still receiving death threats.

Adias, who is also the vice-chancellor of the Federal University Otuoke, FUO, had during the collation exercise of results in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, announced an adjournment due to threats to his life and those of his family members.

Speaking to journalists at the time, Adias said, “I have been receiving threats, messages and calls to my life and that of my family for two days now. My picture is all over the social media that I was sent to rig the elections in Rivers State.

“Every one hour, I receive more that one million calls of threats to my life and other things. I hereby stand down collation until the INEC and security agencies can guarantee my safety to continue this national assignment.”

Giving update on Sunday, the Vice-Chancellor said he still received threatening messages up until Saturday night.

In a statement issued titled “My Stewardship, My Bond As State Collation Officer For The 2023 Presidential Election, Rivers State,” Adias said though he was unaware of the challenges of being a collation officer, he decided to weather the storm because of his commitment to the growth and development of the political process in the country.

He said, “On my appointment as State Collation Officer for the 2023 Presidential Elections (SCOPE), Rivers State, I had set out, as a call to duty on National Assignment to fulfil an essential part of my Community Service as an academic and Vice-Chancellor of a Federal University. Hence, I worked within the scope of my briefs as statutorily demanded, and as clearly enunciated in the Electoral Guidelines and other enabling instruments. By the nature of my assignment, as it is with every other job in this sphere, I knew it was going to be challenging, but I braved it being assured that I would surmount whatever challenge by the grace of God.

“As statutorily designated, my job as the State’s Collation Officer for the Presidential Elections (SCOPE), Rivers State, and as expected of all Vice-Chancellor of Federal Universities, who were also deployed to other states of the Federation too, I received the report of collated and announced results from Local Government Area Council Collation Officers (EC8C). Collated the votes scored by each Political Party from Forms EC8C into Form EC8D and entered the votes scored in the spaces provided; added up the LGA collated results to obtain the State’s summary; cross-checked the totals and entries in Form EC8D with the Collation Support and Result Verification System (CSRVS) secretariat for computational accuracy; announced loudly the votes scored by each Political Party; signed, dated and stamped the Form EC8D and requested the Polling Agents to countersign; then other formalities followed up the ladder to the final Collation Centre in Abuja.

“The above procedures were dutifully followed under public viewing and in presence of all the officials, from the designated regular INEC Staff, INEC Ad-hoc Staff, Party Agents and Officers, Security Personnel to local and Foreign Observers, and the Press, with no adverse and untoward behaviours noted or recorded, all the way.

“Also, as explained above, my job, as it is with other 36 Federal Universities Vice-Chancellors, was simply to dutifully collate results that had been recorded at the Units, Wards and Local Government levels up to the State’s Collation Centre where all the scores were summed up in the presence of all concerned persons and groups, including but not limited to Party Agents. By this arrangement, it is quite impossible for a State Collation Officer for the Presidential Election to manipulate scores that had already been counted, recorded, confirmed, signed, and stamped by Officers at the lower levels of Collation (Unit, Ward, and LGA). Looking at the scope and modalities of my job as well as my neutrality as a Vice-Chancellor, how could anyone have imagined to the extent of alleging that I was out to favour any candidate or political party in the Presidential Elections?

“To put the records straight, I began to receive several phone calls and text messages threatening, abusing and insulting my person and family on February 26, 2023 while I was on my way to Port Harcourt to report to duty not knowing that my photograph and phone number had already been circulated on the social media, especially Facebook and Twitter alleging that I had been detailed to influence votes and scores for Candidate(s) in the elections by manipulating the BVAS machines in Rivers State among others. On getting to Port Harcourt, I had to inform the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) about my experiences which he roundly condemned and promised that my safety was assured and pledged that the Commission would do something about it.”

Narrating further, Prof. Adias said after collating results for three local government areas on February 26, 2023, he retired to his hotel room. But while he tried to rest to prepare for the following day, the threat calls and messages continued to come in.

“I managed to bear it all till the following day when I set out to collate results for 18 more local government areas making it 21 LGAs as at February 27, 2023. At the end of the hectic process of Collation for that day, the results for Obio/Akpor and Degema Local Government Areas were not ready.

“Considering all what had happened, the following day, on February 28, 2023, I decided to adjourn the Collation of results and insisted on a Press Conference to let everyone know about the several threats to my life and as they may affect the Collation exercise. Thereafter, the Collation was adjourned, and I insisted that until INEC addressed the issues of misinformation, blackmail; and defined the roles of SCOPE as distinct from that of other Officers whose duty it is to receive results as collated at the Units to the Wards, all through to the local governments, I would not go on with the exercise. My request was granted and INEC had a Press Conference debunking all the misinformation and disinformation. Thereafter, the Collation continued and the exercise was completed.

“Dear compatriots, ordinarily, I would have been silent about the situation since the Rivers State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hon. Dr. Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem had, on February 28, 2023, issued a Press Statement in this regard, but I still feel I owe our countrymen and women the duty of a thorough explanation of what happened as narrated above, because my image is far more precious to me than anything else. TRUST me; there is no iota of truth in the rumours that had been peddled. It is just a figment of the imagination of their bearers to what end I cannot really ascertain.

“I want to urge us to discountenance all the misinformation and lies that had been peddled about me in relation to the conduct of 2023 Presidential Elections in Rivers State. Let us be assured that my patriotic zeal for the growth and development of our dear country will not be dampened, no matter the seeming discouragements”.

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