INEC Stays Action On Rivers Rerun Elections

 

Gov Nyesom Wike and his political rival, Dakuku Peterside
Gov Nyesom Wike and his political rival, Dakuku Peterside

As a result of the widespread violence that accompanied the rerun elections in Rivers State on Saturday, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has decided to suspend all actions on the exercise until a detailed report from its field officials and monitors is received.

The electoral body added, however, that the suspension would not affect results already announced in one federal and nine state constituencies.

The commission said in a statement on Sunday that the decision became necessary as its staff had been threatened and intimidated by armed thugs working for politicians, including the “barricading of some of the INEC 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”.

“Of more serious concern was 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. There were reports of numerous attacks resulting in fatalities, kidnappings, ballot snatching, diversion of officials and materials, amongst others, which necessitated its suspension in 8 Local Government Areas,” the statement by INEC’s director of voter education and publicity, Oluwole Osaze- Uzzi, said.

The electoral body had on Saturday cancelled elections in six local government areas, Gokana, Khana, Andoni, Bonny, Eleme and Tai, due to irregularities but that did not deter people in other areas.






     

     

    The violence resulted in the death of four persons, among who was an aide to Emma Woke, Chief of Staff to Governor Nyesom Wike, and arrest of others, including the Secretary to the State Government, Kenneth Kobani.

    Koboani’s aide was killed in a shootout between security men attached to him and the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside.

    Wike defended his supporters and said they were trying to ensure that the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, did not rig the polls but Peterside claimed there was an attempt on his life by the governor’s men.

    The governor and the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who have locked horns for the control of the state, on Sunday squared up to each other at the Mile 1 Diobu police station. The two had gone to the station when a collation officer, Ekwi Adebisa, who was reportedly kidnapped on Saturday, showed up at the station. Both Wike and Amaechi thought Adebisa had disappeared with election materials to rig on the other’s behalf.

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