Rivers APC Berates INEC over Comments on Military

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Mr. Festus Okoye

By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja

Rivers All Progressives Congress has berated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for stating that electoral processes were disrupted by thugs and the military during the March 9 governorship and State Assembly elections.

INEC had in a statement on Saturday expressed displeasure with the roles allegedly played by some soldiers and armed gangs in Rivers State in during the election collation process, which it described as attempt to subvert the will of the people.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, who issued a statement, had acknowledged that governorship and state House of Assembly elections took place in most of the polling units and results were announced and that the results from 17 local governments out of 23 were available. INEC had also disclosed that results for 21 state constituencies out of 32 were declared before the process was suspended, assuring that the process would be completed.

But in its reaction to the INEC statement, APC stalwart in Rivers State and Director, Strategic Communications of the Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation, Prince Tonye Princewill, faulted INEC for pointing accusing fingers at the military, saying without their intervention election couldn’t have held in the oil-rich Rivers State.

“We’ve seen the statement issued by INEC and I stand by my earlier comment that even if they tried, INEC can’t save Wike. Apart from spelling mistakes, the vague statement reveals a lot of things about an umpire that doesn’t pay attention to finer details, refuses to take any responsibility for its failures and yet goes on to equate moral equivalence between the Nigerian Army and common thugs,” Princewill said.

He said: “That ludicrous position is where they reveal their true colours. The statement could easily have been drafted in collaboration with Rivers State Government House. Let me reiterate again that without the Army, Rivers State would have been a bloodbath. Just like with INEC, we too have more to reveal in the days to come.

“Let’s not say too much. There is an old African proverb that says if the mouth goes to war too early, when the leg arrives, the enemy will grab it.”