INEC Says Rivers Re-run Will Be Free, Fair And Transparent
Giving the assurance on Sunday, the electoral body said violence that erupted during the earlier held legislative re-run election of March 19, 2016, forced the INEC to suspend the exercise.
It pointed out that at the time the elections were suspended, voting had ended in certain constituencies with the winners declared while voting had been concluded in some areas but collation of results had not been completed.
A statement by the electoral body on its commitment to conducting the polls read: “Besides, certain unauthorised persons had put the Commission’s officials under duress to declare results at some locations, while balloting did not take place at all in others.
“In an effort to conclude the elections, the Commission held a Stakeholders’ Forum in Abuja on 30th June, 2016, where it was agreed that the elections be held on 30th July, 2016.
“However, following persistent inflammatory comments by political actors in the state, an arson attack on the Commission’s office at Khana Local Government Area on 22nd July 2016 by unknown persons and credible security reports, it became impossible to hold the elections as planned”.
INEC further pointed out that the recent Edo and Ondo governorship elections “eloquently speak of the feat that can be achieved if all stakeholders do the needful”.
The Commission, however, condemned the relentless false allegations, provocative and dangerous comments being made by some political actors, especially the Governor of River State, Mr Nyesom Wike, against the Commission, which it insisted were capable of inciting people to commit violent acts that could derail the election.
“We appeal to stakeholders to henceforth refrain from making pronouncements that could either overheat the state or instigate their followers to violence.
“We also appeal to all the political parties and their supporters to abide by all the extant laws governing the electoral process,” INEC added, promising to remain impartial and committed to conducting credible, fair and transparent elections at all times.
Governor Wike had few days ago berated the leadership of INEC, for allegedly releasing an All Progressives Congress (APC) dominated list of ad-hoc staff, for the December 10 rerun elections.
According to him, INEC had included APC Ward Chairmen and Ward Secretaries as Assistant Presiding Officers (APO’s).