Why we suspended Rivers re-run election in 8 LGs – INEC

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The Independent Nation­al Electoral Commission (INEC) has given reasons for the suspension of the resched­uled re-run election into the Na­tional and State House of Assem­bly in Rivers State.

The commission, in a state­ment signed by Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, Director, Voter Education and Publicity, said there were re­ports of numerous attacks result­ing in fatalities, kidnappings, bal­lot snatching, diversion of officials and materials, amongst others, which necessitated its suspension in eight local government areas.

Osaze-Uzzi lamented such de­viant behaviour has continued the next day being Sunday as several permanent and ad-hoc staff mem­bers have been attacked, again re­sulting in fatalities, while some have been forcibly abducted and taken to unknown destinations.

He said: “Under such difficult circumstances, the Returning Of­ficers were only able to collate and declare results in 1 Federal and 9 State constituencies where the dis­ruption and malpractices were not so widespread.”

According to him, having re­viewed the situation, the commis­sion was compelled to suspend all further action concerning the ex­ercise in all the other constituen­cies in the State pending the re­ceipt of a comprehensive report from its Field Officials and Mon­itors.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that the suspen­sion does not affect the constitu­encies where the exercise has been completed and the results declared by the Returning Officers”, he said.

He regretted that some of the elections witnessed the disruption of the process, including the bar­ricading of some of INEC’s Local Government offices and Registra­tion Area Centres (RACs) used for the distribution of elector­al materials which led to the late commencement of the exercise in some places and consequently, its smooth take off.

Osaze-Uzzi said the most se­rious concerns were the level of threats, violence and intimidation of election officials and voters by well-armed thugs and miscreants allegedly acting on behalf of some politicians, which marred the elec­tions in some areas.

And as the controversy sur­rounding the suspension of the election rages, Governor Nye­som Wike has said that the mili­tary-orchestrated violence in the state could be part of a plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to declare a state of emergency in the state on the premise of height­ened propaganda.

 

Wike said he had compiled videos of the atrocities commit­ted by the military across the state during the rerun elections, saying that the videos will be released to the public at the appropriate time.

The governor, who denounced the cancellation of the election re­sult in some councils, said that with the declaration of results by returning officers in the respec­tive constituencies, no INEC offi­cial is empowered by law to can­cel or nullify such results.

The governor in an interview in Port Harcourt on Monday, said the statement by the Nation­al Secretariat of the PDP that the Federal Government plans a state of emergency in the state should not be disregarded as there is al­ways an element of truth to eve­ry rumour.

According to him, the APC is merely involved in propaganda to create the impression of violence.

On the further rerun in eight local government areas, Governor Wike said measures should be tak­en by INEC to address the chal­lenges noticed during the March 19 elections.

He suggested that one Res­ident Electoral Commissioner should be assigned to one local government area for greater effi­ciency in the conduct of the polls.

Meanwhile, the state chapter of the APC has called for the ar­rest of Governor Wike over what it claimed was an assassination attempt on the Director-Gener­al of the Nigerian Maritime Ad­ministration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peter­side, the state APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, and the deputy governorship candidate of the party in the April 2015 elec­tions, Hon. Asita O. Asita.

Ikanya, in a statement in Port Harcourt, said the trio narrowly escaped death on Sunday after­noon after Peterside’s vehicle in which they were travelling from the Port Harcourt International Airport was attacked by gunmen in two utility vehicles belonging to Emeka Woke, the Chief of Staff to Governor Wike.

He said they, however, sur­vived by making a quick detour to the nearby Department of State Security (DSS) office to seek ref­uge.

Ikanya said: “This brazen at­tempt to snuff out the lives of three key leaders of the Rivers State APC is outrageous, an af­front and is condemnable.”

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