ELECTION CRISIS: Announce Rivers guber poll result now, PDP tells INEC

…Rejects suspension of election by INEC, asks Buhari to reflect on bloodletting

…State govt accuses army, police, INEC of subversion

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to end its manipulative schemes and immediately declare the result of the March 9, 2019 Rivers State governorship election.  

The party as well rejected the decision by INEC to suspend the electoral process in the state, after results have been collated.

The PDP alerted that this is a premeditated plan by the APC-led Federal Government to use the instrument of INEC and security agencies to truncate the wishes of the Rivers people as already delivered at the polling units.

Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary, in a statement said: “Our party contends that elections have been concluded in Rivers State; results of the Governorship and House of Assembly polls have been declared at the various polling units, wards and local government collation centres and all returning officers and political parties in the ballot conclusively have the figures.

“It is therefore directly incumbent on INEC to declare the final results instead of deliberately creating openings for the subversion of the final process; a development, which exposes the Commission’s complicity with the Buhari Presidency and the APC to enmesh the election into unnecessary crisis.

“Our party cautions INEC to note that a lot of innocent Nigerians have already been killed by the APC in its desperation to forcefully take over Rivers State. The commission should therefore save the state from more bloodletting by immediately declaring the results”.

The party called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reflect on the bloodlettings that have characterised this election, which many Nigerians believe, would have been averted if he had signed the Amendment to the Electoral Act.

He said: “Mr. President should immediately call the security agencies (who have been annexed as departments of the APC) to end their siege to our electoral process. Any further delay is a recipe for escalation of crisis in our nation”.

Meanwhile, as the results of Saturday’s election begin to trickle in, the Rivers State Government has cried out, alleging that the Nigerian Army, Police, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, have moved to subvert the will of Rivers people.

Also, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Emma Okah, addressing journalists on Sunday, claimed that the few results so far declared by INEC in which the Amaechi-backed AAC was winning were concocted.

The commissioner alleged that soldiers and SARS personnel stormed collation centres in the state and hijacked already collated results, accusing the security agents of working with APC leaders to mutilate the results to the advantage of a political party.

He alleged: “They have stopped PDP agents from gaining entrance into the collation centre at Aba Road. Movement has been restricted and free access given to APC leaders.

“Members of the PDP have been expelled from the Collation Centre. They want to deny the people of Rivers State their choice. Collated materials have been hijacked and some already announced results will suffer mutilation. If this continues, the will of Rivers people will be tainted.”

The state government urged INEC to insist only on results from card readers, saying that any other action would be at variance with the votes cast by the people.

He alleged that “the desperation to alter the results is part of a grand conspiracy by the army, police, APC and INEC to declare a particular candidate.”

However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the governorship and House of Assembly election in Rivers State on the account of high level infractions recorded during poll.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voters Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, confirmed reports of widespread disruption of elections conducted on the 9th of March 2019 in Rivers State.

He said: “These initial reports suggest that violence occurred in a substantial number of polling units and collation centres, staff have been taken hostage and materials including result sheets have either been seized or destroyed by unauthorized persons.

In addition, safety of our staff appears to be in jeopardy all over the state and the Commission is concerned about the credibility of the process.

“Consequently, at a meeting held today 10th March 2019, the Commission has decided to suspend all electoral processes in the State until further notice”.

This, he said, is in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Clause 47(e) of the Regulations and Guidelines of the Commission.

Okoye said the commission has also established a Fact-Finding Committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.

The Commission appealed to the people of Rivers State, particularly the voters, for their understanding as INEC look into the circumstances of these disruptions and what further action needs to be taken.
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