Obi Expresses Concern over Brigandage in Rivers Elections

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Lulu-Briggs calls for cancellation of polls Assert your independence, PDP tells INEC

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in February 23 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, has expressed concern over fallouts from some states in last Saturday’s gubernatorial and state assembly elections, particularly in Rivers State.

This is coming as Dumo Lulu-Briggs Campaign Organisation in Accord party has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel last Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections in the state due to the irregularities in the process.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also called on the commission to assert its independence and not allow the military and the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) usurp its functions.

The former Governor of Anambra State said in a statement from his media office that the militarisation of elections to the extent of carrying collation centre to a military location and denying international observers’ access is clearly unacceptable and a grave breach of democratic norms.

He said that needless involvement of the military has aggravated the situation in Rivers State and wondered why the undue interest in Rivers, very well known strong PDP state.

The vice presidential candidate said the Rivers State, Governor Neysom Wike, should be the last to face this type of harassment given his popularity with his people which is as a result of his outstanding performance which earned him Mr. Projects even from an opposition person.

Obi stated that all reasonable persons within and outside the country who desire the growth and sustenance of democracy in this part of the world should rise up and condemn what is going on in Rivers State.

“Any reasonable person should know that Wike is the last person to be harassed knowing what he has put in just in four years in the delivery of democracy dividend.”

Obi also described as curious the fact that all the six states that INEC declared inconclusive are where PDP was cruising to victory before it was halted.

He said that the ruling party has become so shameless in their desperation as they have become brazen in perpetuating their rigging agenda.

He urged the global democracies to show more than passing interests in what is going on in Nigeria particularly Rivers State, adding that such untoward behaviour has far reaching consequences in the entire democratic process in the continent and the world.

Meanwhile, the Dumo Lulu-Briggs Campaign Organisation in Accord party has called on INEC to cancel last Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections in Rivers State due to the irregularities in the process.

The Director General of Dumo Lulu-Briggs Campaign Organisation, Hon. Iyk Oji, said in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday that INEC acted timely and in the interest of the electorate by suspending the electoral process in the
state.

The statement said: “The suspension of all election processes in Rivers State as announced by INEC must have come to most well-meaning citizens and residents as a relief, considering the widespread outcry and condemnation of the conduct of the March 9, governorship and State House of Assembly elections in the state.

“We commend INEC for the promptness in taking this decision at the time it did given the unfolding ugly situation in Rivers State which was heating up an already volatile political atmosphere. The March 9, elections in the state had not only recorded widespread incidents of disruptions of the electoral processes but has recorded the harassment and intimidation of voters and loss of lives of civilians and security personnel.

“INEC’s action truncated the activities of bloodthirsty politicians who were already threatening more violence and bloodshed. “The suspension of the electoral processes was a disappointment to the agents of destruction who were already threatening mayhem had INEC not stepped in.”

He said the suspension of the process has restored faith and confidence in a process that was marred by violence, thuggery and militarisation of the entire process.

He said graphic and detailed reports from the party’s agents across the State showed that: “Thugs and cultists, some of them armed with lethal weapons, said to be acting in the interest of the PDP invaded several voting units, intimidating voters, carting away electoral materials, harassing INEC staff and generating fake results in areas under their forceful control.

However, the Rivers State PDP Campaign Council has called on INEC to use the case of the State elections to assert its independence and not allow the military and FSARS to usurp its functions.

In a statement issued yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Director of Information and Communications of the council, Emma Okah, said INEC needs to be bold and independent and “call the bluff of the defaulting security agencies and their collaborators in the APC who are bent on dragging the name of the Commission in the mud”.

He said, “the integrity of the electoral process is the hallmark of democracy and development and if people can no longer trust the umpire, all the talks about civil rule is like blowing hot air.”