By Nuel Suji – A group, Centre for Public Accountability (CPA) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the bye elections to hold in Rivers State, warning that politicians there are not yet ready for the elections.
CPA said it has become necessary to shift the election, following the spate of violence and killings trailing rerun elections in Rivers state, south-south Nigeria.
A statement issued in Abuja by Peter Abah, the Director of Media and Strategy of the group decried the killings and destruction of properties that have continued to engulf Rivers state since INEC has been trying to conduct the rerun.
“Recall the violence that followed the March 19, 2016 rerun of elections in Rivers State which claimed the lives many rivers indigenes and the live of a Youth Corps member, Samuel Okonta.
“We are aware that this development led to a meeting organized by INEC at the Ladi Kwali Hall of the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja on the 30th June, 2016, for stakeholders at various levels culminating in the National Stakeholders Forum on outstanding rerun elections. It was at that venue of the meeting that dates were chosen for the Rivers, Kogi, Kano and Imo reruns.
“At the meeting, it was agreed that INEC should not under any circumstance put the lives of poll staff, observers, electorates and indeed politicians at risk if there is threat to peace. The Commission was urged to exercise its statutory powers and put off any election where lives would be put at risk.” Abah recalled
The group further expressed displeasure that having fully agreed to the nonviolence re-run, Rivers politicians have been engaging in violence conducts in the wake of July 30, 2016 re run elections in the state even as it strongly advised INEC to put off election noting that lives of electoral and adhoc poll staff will be in danger.
“That era can only be found in our history where politicians won elections by any means necessary.” Abah stated.
Only last week, the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Bori, headquarters of Khana local Government Area and the ancestral headquarters of the Ogoni people was set ablaze by unknown persons.
Our correspondent reports that Khana LGA is key to the rerun election for Rivers East senatorial district. The election is scheduled for Saturday, July 30, 2016.