Rivers: INEC Gives Conditions for Completion of Rerun Polls

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  • Promises to declare more collated results
  • Wike: Delay fueled rumours, suspicion

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

In reaction to pressure to conclude the March 12 bloody rerun election in Rivers State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) friday said that it would only fix a date for the conclusion after securing guarantees from security agencies, political parties and their supporters on a conducive atmosphere for a credible poll.

The commission in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja and signed by its Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, also promised to announce more results from the constituencies where it is satisfied that voting and collation were done in “substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and guidelines.”

In a swift reaction, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike welcomed the news, stating that the delay in declaring collated result was needless since the results in the different polling units were already known by everybody.

According to the commission, election results to be declared are from constituencies where collation had been concluded but declaration or return were yet to be made as well as areas where voting had been concluded and collation was on-going but yet to be concluded.

INEC said the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Rivers State would give further details of the constituencies and the nature of exercise to be undertaken in the next few days.

On the arrangement for fresh election, INEC said it would decide on a date for fresh elections in the areas affected by the disruption, starting with simultaneous accreditation and voting.

“While the commission is committed to conducting free, fair and credible election, it hereby restates its resolve not to return to Rivers State or elsewhere where there was breakdown of law and order during elections, until there is a conducive atmosphere for conduct of free and credible election,” it said.

The statement said at the time of suspending the Rivers re-run elections, the electoral process were in various stages, including constituencies with already declared results and return of winners, results declared but returns not made, collation concluded but no declarations yet to be made.

It also said that while there were areas where voting had been concluded but collation were yet to commence, there were other places where voting did not take place at all.

On the way forward, INEC said: “Faced with the above scenario, the commission restates its earlier decision to uphold the declarations and returns made in the federal and state constituencies where the exercise had been concluded.

“Similarly, the commission will conclude and make returns in constituencies where it is satisfied that voting and collation were done in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and our guidelines”.

In lamenting the ugly situation that led to the abandonment of the re-run election in Rivers State, it narrated how some of the registration area centres were invaded and barricaded by hordes of people thus disrupting commencement of the exercise in several places.

While sympathising with family of the slain youth Corper who lost his life during the election, INEC condemned politicians whom it accused of spewing hate messages that further exacerbated the violence during the Rivers election.

Wike: Delay in declaring collated result needless…
Meanwhile, Governor Wike stated that the delay in declaring the collated result created rumours and suspicion about the credibility of the electoral body bearing in mind the desperation of some individuals to rig the process.
“There was no reason for the suspension of the announcement of already collated result,” he declared.

The governor told THISDAY in a telephone interview yesterday night that even if the election was done “45,000 times, PDP would win. We’ll win even if it is conducted 45,000 times.”

Wike further stated that the state government would do everything possible to promote the conduct of free and fair election in the state but would not allow outsiders “hell bent on using the military to rig the peoples’ will.”

The military cannot be used in the election. The duty of the army is to guard against attacks and not to be arresting people at polling units or carrying ballot boxes. That is not their job. Amaechi has been bragging and dropping the President’s name. That he has his support to try to manipulate the electoral process. But we are saying no, you cannot do that. We are resisting his impunity and violence. And we are saying ‘leave the president out of this.’

“The President is busy trying to fulfill his electoral promises and you come here, dropping his name to rig the election. We will not let that happen. President Buhari didn’t send him to come and rig the election and has repeatedly stated that he wants free and fair elections, we share this position. It is wrong for Amaechi to come here and be dropping the president’s name in order to rig the process. It won’t work.

They saw that they were losing badly so they ran away from the collation centres to create problems. Again, we are prepared to support the process that guarantees free and fair election. Let the military keep their distance from election points. That is all we ask of INEC.”

  • U. K. Charles

    Any results that denies PDP of victory in Rivers is an invitation to more violence as has never been experienced. Because it is an undeniable truth that Rivers is 100% PDP

    • Ahilabegbe

      Confirmed

      • U. K. Charles

        Amechi and Peterside think they own Rivers. They don’t know the people rejected them a very long time ago.

    • Victor

      I concur.

      • U. K. Charles

        Amechi and Peterside don’t know that Rivers people are grossly unhappy with their activities in trying to drag them to APC.

    • igonzia

      Gbam

    • John Johnson

      Even APC knows that Rivers State belongs to PDP. Amaechi became governor on the platform of PDP. That he decamped to APC does not mean that the people of Rivers State has decamped to APC. Buhari has to be very careful with this. APC can not win in some states like rivers. Watch out for Edo State. PDP is getting it back. 8 yrs of APC rule in Edo State cannot show any employment they generated.

      • U. K. Charles

        You’re very correct my brother!

  • Darlington

    Why would INEC delay announcement of already collated results? This is a sign of external influence in operations of the electoral body. Prof Yakubu is not doing anything to remedy his already battered image and credibility. Amaechi and APC should simply concede defeat in Rivers Rerun. Wike has once again, proved who is the boss in Rivers State. Amaechi has been made IDP (Internal Displaced Politician) in Rivers.

    • FC

      GBAM!!

  • agbobu

    THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST IMMEDIATELY DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE STATE. THE RECKLESS IMPUNITY IN THE STATE MUST BE SUBDUED AND AND HAND OVER THE DAY TO DAY RUNNING OF THE GOVERNMENT OF RIVERS STATE TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENSENTATIVES. ALL THESE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST DO WITHOUT ANY FUTHER DALAY, IF WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE END OF OUR MUCH FOUGHT FOR DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. I WARN ALLOWING THIS RECKLESS IMPUNITY TO GO UNCHALLENGED WILL SPELL DOOM AND DISASTER

    • clippers12

      What you are proposing is undemocratic ……so what’s the point! The picture is pretty clear that one is trying too hard to steal the state

    • FC

      Paid APC agent! Look elsewhere for another job! Losers!!

    • lotanna azubogu

      You need psychological evaluation for calling for a state of emergency in a state where violence is scarce and transient, and can, off course be predicted because its causes are known.
      This being when we have states where human beings are being killed in their numbers almost on a daily basis by Islamic elements in the guise of boko haram and Herdsmen. Has the individual governors of such states been subverted and replaced with military administrators.

    • Ahilabegbe

      “State of emergency” on what basis? You are sick. If Amaechi and his men had casted their votes and went back to their respective homes, it would have been a different story today. The FG should invesigate every case of violence in Rivers re run elections and anyone that is guilty should face the full weight of the law.

    • Kelly

      If state of emergency is declared in Rivers State then what should we declare in Borno and Yobe states. We probably should close those states down completely and move everybody out to another state. You guys are just pathetic!!!

    • Victor

      I totally disagree with your position, i feel you are being bias in your assertion concerning this matter. The simply truth is that the good people of Rivers have rejected Amaechi and his APC long before now, therefore Amaechi should stop attempting to use the so called “federal might” to cause impunity in the state. I believe Amaechi should be arrested and put before court with regards to the violence of the immediate past Rivers re-run elections. Is change now by force?.

    • asuevie

      You will cry for eternity to get your State of emwrgency! Shame.

    • okenwa

      You mean declare state of emergency in buhari’s brain.

    • Tony Ani

      There is separation of powers in Nigeria Bro The executive arm of government lack such powers. It is a legislative responsibility. We are not in a military era and Buhari is not a sole administrator. Go read the Nigerian Constitution Bro.

    • igonzia

      You are doooooomed

    • Okwuchukwu David

      Never you ever make any other comment on this site again.

  • RumuPHC

    INEC has finally realized its mistake!

    It is going to be very difficult and will surely take a long while for Rivers State to recover from the quagmire the oil rich state has found itself. The current reign of violence and terror is unprecedented and beyond what the state has ever experienced in the past even during the era of the Ogoni Crisis or Militancy in the Niger Delta.

    Anyone talking about an election or holding another election in Rivers State is simply insensitive to the plight of the ordinary folks who reside and do business in the state. Clearly, the unending battle for political power and dominance by APC and PDP is the least of the problems of the people and this they showed by locking themselves indoors on the day of the last polls on March 17. .Although such contest has further exacerbated and exposed the perilous state of affairs in the state, what is most important to many is how the collapsed security infrastructure in the state can be repaired and safety of live and property guaranteed.

    A dangerous situation exist in Rivers State today that has never been witnessed before either in the state or any part of Nigeria.

    There are too many illegal fire-arms stockpiled by too many isanely angry youths and too much money in the hands of many people who have a score to settle including politicians without scruples who will stop at nothing to acquire power. A dangerous business environment therefore exist for marketers and buyers of violence across Rivers State.

    To be better patronized and at a higher price, youths have banded themselves into armed cult groups who must necessary display the highest form of violence( assassinations and beheading ) against perceived opponents in their territories to show dominance and advertise their deadly
    skills. Expectedly, gunslingers from neighboring states have migrated into the state to push their trade due to the lucrative returns to be made in the oil rich Rivers State.

    This is the fundamental problem in the state and all others are mere symptoms of the underlying issues.

    Guns and machetes are therefore readily available for hire in Rivers State for solving a myriad of problems ranging from family disagreements, chieftaincy tussles, land disputes , contract awards , protection of construction sites to the ultimate , winning political power at all levels.

    Solving the problem of violence in Rivers State must therefore entail deep rooted sustainable measures to respond to the fundamental challenges .

    Politics, politicians and elections are not necessarily the causes of violence in Rivers State; they are just beneficiaries of a broken security infrastructure in the state that has encouraged lawlessness and violence especially by armed criminal youth gangs.

    Talk about free and fair election in Rivers State especially since 2015 is not only senseless but quite wicked and outrageous considering the cost in human lives such exercise would involve just to get about 10% of registered voters who are brave enough to exercise their franchise to the polling stations.

    At this stage and considering the implication, until the needful is done, any person urging for elections in Rivers State or braying for victory of PDP or APC at the polls has blood on his hands.

    • RICHARDSON

      Sorry that I have to disagree with your conclusion that; “Politics, politicians and elections are not necessarily the causes of violence in Rivers State”.
      Again when you state that :”Talk about free and fair election in Rivers State especially since 2015 is not only senseless but quite wicked and outrageous …” I see that you have not understood the politics of Rivers state at all.
      If INEC could under Jonathan conduct elections successfully in the North-East area of Nigeria despite the ravages of Boko Haram then how come that the same INEC under Buhari has always conducted ‘inconclusive’ elections even, in Kogi state?
      No. I disagree with your hypothesis because elements of our security system departed from their line of duties to take sides to deny the electorate the free exercise of their right to elect their leaders.
      As long as such a situation is allowed to exist the electorate will always protect their votes.
      You have decided to forget that INEC admitted that photocopies of electoral materials were ‘by mistake’ taken to some areas for the election process and the people rightly rejected such practice.
      The rightful and needful thing has to be done. Governor Wike is the chief security Officer of the state today no other person can rightfully usurp that position.
      INEC must conclude the exercise; meanwhile the collated results must be declared and announced by INEC and must tally with the returns from the polling booths. That is the message our President Buhari left with all voters!

      • RumuPHC

        It is within your rights to disagree with my conclusion or similar declaration in my last post.

        Violence or settling dispute with violent means in Rivers State specifically within the last three decades predates political associations and democratic rule.

        Oil companies are not political parties but violence have forced them to relocate their operations to Lagos while creating a security cordon akin to a HiMax penitentiary around their local operations in Rivers State.

        The OPS and middle class are not politicians but armed attacks and kidnappings have forced them to flee out of PH to Abuja or Lagos.

        Successful but non partisan indigenes have fled violence in their communities for the safety of other places.

        On the elections , the points you raised only confirmed my earlier assertion. INEC shouldn’t have gone ahead to conduct the re run in Rivers State after failing woefully in Kogi and Bayelsa states, and considering the precarious security situation in Rivers State. INEC should have resolved it’s logistic short comings that affected smooth conduct in those states and reappraised the security situation before embarking on the next election.

        Gov Wike rightly observed the untidiness in INEC preparations during the conduct of the elections while scores of innocent Nigerians lost their lives on account of INEC indiscretion.

        No vote is worth a life and no electoral victory should be celebrated after the loss of innocent lives. I hold INEC criminally negligent for the loss of the life of the young Corper Mr Okonta.