Professor Teddy Adias, the State Collation Officer for Rivers State in the just-concluded presidential election, has raised the alarm over threats to his life and family by some people who claimed that he was under instruction to influence votes in favour of a candidate and political party during the polls.
Adias, who is the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, in a statement, alleged that despite his neutrality at the presidential polls he was receiving threatening calls and messages, abuses and insults.
While denying the allegation, he stated that his task was simply to 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, as well as party agents and the media.
He said, “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.”
The vice-chancellor said he informed the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Rivers State, Johnson Alalibo about the threats to his life and he roundly condemned it, promising him that his safety was assured.
He stated that he managed to comport himself as more threats and insults kept hitting his phone up till the evening of February 26 when he retired to his hotel to rest after collating the results for three local government areas, to prepare for collation the next day.
He, however, said that after considering the avalanche of threats he decided the following day to adjourn the collation of results and insisted that the INEC must address a press conference “To let everyone know about the several threats to my life and as they may affect the collation exercise.”
Adias, who stated that the commission carried out the press conference and the collation exercise continued and was concluded, stressed that it became necessary for him to also alert the public “Because my image is far more precious to me than anything else.”
He further said, “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 ascertain.
“I want to urge us to discountenance all the misinformation and lies that had been peddled about me with the conduct of the 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.”