INEC indicts army on Rivers election violence
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accused the Nigeria Army of contributing to the violence that characterised the March 9, 2019 governorship and state house of Assembly elections in Rivers state.
The commission however stated that it would continue with the collation of results of election in the state.
The commission said the action of the army in the state and armed gangs was an attempt to subvert the will of the people of the state.
This was part of the outcome of the report of the committee set up by the INEC to look into the disruption of the state’s election which led to the commission’s suspension of all electoral process.
The postponement drove a wedge between major political parties and INEC, with the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress warning against subversion of the people’s will at the ballot box.
According to the report made available in a statement by the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the Fact-finding committee set up to find out what happened in the state reported that the governorship and state assembly elections took place in most of the polling units and results were announced.
The collation of results and other activities for Rivers State governorship and other state parliamentary elections were suspended on March 10 following widespread report of violence and other forms of intimidation that prevented electoral officers from seamlessly performing their roles.
According to the statement, “That result from 17 local governments out of 23 were available and are in the commission’s custody.”
The report also stated that the declaration and returns for 21 state constituencies out of 32 were made prior to the suspension.
Initial results claimed the AAC was winning some local governments by large margins, but that was countered by the PDP which accused Rotimi Amaechi of fabricating results in collusion with soldiers.
Still, INEC said it would have a rapport with security agencies, especially the Nigerian Army, as it worked out another date to complete the process and declare winners for the House of Assembly and governorships seats.
INEC said it already concluded results of the governorship election from 17 of the state’s 23 local government areas.
For the House of Assembly elections, returns had been made for 21 of 32 state seats in the exercise.
All the rest would now be concluded on a date to be announced on March 20, INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, said in the Saturday morning statement.