The rerun elections in Rivers was cancelled in March due to the violence, bloodshed and arson which followed it. With just one week to the date for the rescheduled poll, it seems the politicians have simply continued from where they stopped.
On Friday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Bori, Khana local government area, was set ablaze. Khana is in Rivers East senatorial, the battleground in the election where the largest prize is a senate seat with two formidable challengers – George Thompson Sekibo of the PDP and Magnus Abbe of the APC – duking it out.
The two major parties blame each other for the suspected arson in Khana.
The APC chairman, Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, has asked security agencies to hold Gov. Nyesom Wike responsible because “just yesterday Nyesom Wike was publicly threatening INEC, its Chairman, myself and Senator Magnus Abe and in less than 24 hours the INEC office in Senator Abe’s South-East Senatorial Headquarters (Bori) has been burnt down.”
“This is typical of the saying that the witch cried last night and today the child dies,” he said. “There’s no need looking elsewhere, Nyesom Wike has, as usual, carried out his earlier threat to visit us with fire; we now know better what he meant. He has carried out his threat by sending his foot soldiers to burn down the INEC office in Bori just because Bori is the Senatorial headquarters of Rivers South-East where Senator Magnus Abe hails from.”
Ikanya was referring to accusations made this week by the governor that the PDP chairman and the APC candidate, Magnus Abbe, met with INEC chairman, Yakubu Mahmood, at his office, with the aim of convincing the electoral umpire to postpone the elections. The governor said the APC is scared of losing.
“But the truth is that nobody can rig elections in Rivers State,” Gov. Wike said at a campaign rally in Etche local government area. “The INEC National Chairman only has the power to postpone elections, but he has no power to rig elections here.”
Meanwhile, an aide to the governor, Marshall Obuzor, has accused the “party of losers” of burning down the INEC office to make sure that the July 30th election is postponed. He said, “Rivers people will not allow ourselves be sold into slavery, elections would hold and our votes must count.”
See Photos of the burnt INEC office: