Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State has called on politicians in the state to take necessary steps to ensure that the concluding part of the rerun elections would not be characterised by violence.
The commission called on them to see elections as a civic duty and not as a civil war.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, made the call on Monday in Port Harcourt during an interactive forum with politicians and a group of mediators from the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Ikoiwak said elections in the state would be credible if only politicians would allow voters to perform their civic duties by voting for candidates of their choice.
He declared that election would not be seen to be free and fair in a situation where INEC officials were forced to announce results at gunpoint, adding that stakeholders, including politicians must allow peace to reign during election periods.
Ikoiwak pointed out that the interactive forum was organised for stakeholders to come together and agree on when the suspended rerun elections held on March 19, 2016 would be completed.
He said it was wrong for people to blame INEC each time elections were inconclusive, adding that it was the duty of everybody to ensure an environment that would be conducive for a free and fair election to hold.
His words: “The INEC headquarters has gone ahead to set up a team to interact with us so that we can have an election that is violent-free. We must agree that election is civic duty and not a war.
“Election is not a war situation. It is an exercise where people should be allowed to decide because it is their constitutional right. That is why we must provide a conducive environment for people to votes.”
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