The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the timetable for the collation of results in Rivers state, the only state yet to conclude its governorship and state assembly election process.
- According to the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Rivers, Bayelsa, and Edo States, May Agbamuche, INEC will resume the collation and announcement of election results in Rivers between April 2 and 5.
- The Commission will also conduct supplementary elections where necessary, and in constituencies not affected by litigation on April 13.
- The electoral body will conclude the issuance of all outstanding certificates of return on April 19.
Flashback: The electoral process in the state was suspended on March 10th by INEC which cited the “widespread disruption of elections conducted” as reason. INEC said there was violence in a substantial number of polling units and collation centres, abduction of INEC staff, as well seizing and destruction of result sheets.
- “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,” INEC said.
APC kicks against the process: With almost one month gone since the election contest, INEC is ready to resume the process, but the APC – which is barred from fielding candidates in the election – is protesting.
- The APC, in a statement by its spokesman, Seinbo Chris Finebone, described the announcement of the timelines to conclude the elections as “a mere charade well-organised and choreographed by INEC in its bid to work from answer to question.”
- It says INEC’s plan is to announce Gov. Nyesom Wike as winner, against Awara Biokpomabo, the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), who is being backed by the APC. According to the APC, there is a “tripartite collaboration between Gov. Wike, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Obo Effanga ably assisted by the Administrative Secretary of INEC in Rivers State, Mr. Etim John.”
- Meanwhile the disqualified APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, has called on INEC to cancel the election and conduct a fresh one in the state.
Bottom Line: The APC is confused. It is not a player in the election, yet it wants the elections cancelled on one hand, while asking for its preferred candidate, Biokpomabo, to be declared winner on the other.