Rivers rerun: 31 political parties reject postponement by INEC

THIRTY-one registered political parties in Rivers State have rejected the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the conclusion of the suspended legislative rerun election in the state.
The national electoral body had, on Monday, announced the postponement of the rerun election, following the burning of its office in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of the state, last Friday.
The political parties, under the aegis of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Rivers State chapter, however called on INEC to rescind its decision and conduct the exercise on Saturday, as earlier scheduled.
The political parties also said the postponement of the legislative rerun election was a unilateral decision taken by INEC.
Addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, Rivers IPAC chairman, Mr Felix Obuah, said INEC was doing the state no good by indefinitely postponing the date of the election.
Obuah, who is also the state PDP chairman, accused INEC of acting out a script by the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that the opposition party was not ready for the election.
“We therefore call on INEC to reverse itself and go ahead with the elections it had so much promised to conduct. The postponement, we regretfully reiterate, is not acceptable by IPAC, Rivers State.
“The state is safe for election and the incident (burning of INEC office) is a grand design by APC to create a scene to enable INEC play its script.
“By postponing the elections, INEC is not doing the state any good because while the rest of the country are fully represented in the National Assembly, Rivers State continues to be stagnated and denied its due representation in everything.
“It is important that INEC does the needful by going on with the July 30 rerun election to disabuse the minds of greater majority of Rivers people and other political parties that INEC is rather acting out a drafted script by APC, which is not ready for the election,” he said.
Rivers APC publicity secretary, Mr Chris Finebone, however said his party was ready for the election, noting that it was wrong for IPAC to have accused it (APC) of influencing INEC’s decision.
Recalling that a youth corps member was killed in the March 19 rerun exercise, he since INEC felt that the lives of its personnel would not be safe, there was nothing APC could do to change the commission’s decision.
“APC is ready for the election. APC did not create the violence that pervades the state, which forced INEC to postpone the election indefinitely. How come PDP is accusing APC of being responsible for the indefinite shift in the date of the election?” he said.
Finebone also accused IPAC of always pandering to the whims of PDP, adding that the ruling party could have influenced other political parties to hold a similar view on the postponed election.
However, Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mr Aniedi Ikoiwak, said the decision to postpone elections could only be taken by the INEC national headquarters in conjunction with stakeholders.