Rivers by-election: Pressure mounts on INEC to redeploy Rivers REC

RiversSOME powerful forces in the polity are said to be bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu to redeploy the Rivers State Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in respect of the botched by-election in the state.

The REC in Rivers State, Mr Obo Effanga had suspended the by-election into Port Harcourt State Constituency three by-election on the basis of widespread violence during the August 18 election.

But the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been at loggerheads over the outcome of the botched election.

The two parties have been trading blame since the election was suspended by INEC, with the APC alleging that it had won the election, while the PDP insisted that the election was inconclusive.

Some members of the APC had claimed to be in possession of election results, which INEC had disowned.

Sources in the polity, however, told the Sunday Tribune that the leadership of INEC had come under pressure to redeploy the REC in Rivers in view of the allegations levelled against Effanga by the APC in Rivers state.

A source said that the INEC Chairman was being asked to redeploy a few RECs so as to cover the indication that he was signalling out the Rivers REC.

But the spokesman of INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi said on Saturday that the indication was untrue.

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He said that the REC in Rivers was not the cause of the violence that erupted at the by-election adding that the REC was rather a victim.

He said:“There is no such thing. The REC for Rivers remains Obo Effanga. He was not responsible for the violence rather he was a victim of it. “

A former Majority Leader in the Rivers State House of Assembly who is also a chieftain of the APC, Mr Chidi Lloyd said while appearing on a programme of the Africa Independent Television (AIT) last week stated that the APC already has an “unofficial result” of the election. He insisted that INEC had no power to stop an ongoing election in accordance to the Electoral Act.

But the Governor of Rivers state, Chief Nyesom Wike who addressed Rivers state indigenes last week accused the Police of failing the people during the election.

Governor Wike said: “As we had feared, the Police failed us completely once again and negated all that they promised.”

He wondered what would why the Police could not guarantee security in a constituency of eight wards adding: What will happen in 2019 when they would be contending with 319 electoral wards and 4,442 polling units across 23 Local Government Areas of the State?”

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