The National Commissioner in charge of election operations at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs. Amina Zakari, has assured of the commission’s readiness to conclude suspended elections in Rivers in October.
Zakari according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gave the assurance yesterday in Port Harcourt at a stakeholders meeting with political parties, candidates and security agencies.
She said the commission convened the meeting to resolve factors which led to inconclusive elections in the past, and to conclude the process.
“It is unfortunate that the March 19 re-run elections due to unfortunate incident of irregularities and insecurity was pronounced inconclusive.
“INEC has no stake in any election, but is poised to provide a neutral atmosphere for all parties concerned to exercise their political right,” she said.
The commissioner promised that the commission would explore all avenues to ensure that Rivers people had equal political representation through a free and fair electoral process.
In his remarks, the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Rivers South-East district, Senator Magnus Abe, thanked INEC for organising the meeting. He urged the commission to publish the units and wards were repeat elections would be held.
On his part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the senatorial district, Senator George Sekibo, tasked INEC to be neutral in the conduct of the election.
He said the fire that engulfed the INEC office in Bori was not enough to postpone the July 30 election in the state.
He urged INEC to adopt more stringent approach to tackle election irregularities and security challenges during elections. The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, said he had nothing against the reactions from political parties regarding his role in the suspended elections.
He explained that the decision of INEC to suspend the March 19 election was based on field report gathered by the commission from electoral officers and the security agencies.
He said INEC was an electoral umpire which carries out its duties in collaboration with the various security agencies and accredited electoral officers.
Ikoiwak assured the candidates of the commission’s commitment to conclude preparations for the election before mid October as directed by the Chairman of the commission.
Rivers Commissioner of Police, Mr, Francis Odesanya, thanked INEC and the political parties for the peace meeting and described it as “timely.”
He promised the readiness of the police to provide level playing ground for all the political parties; safety of lives and property at all times and to support free and fair election in the state.