Rivers Re-Run: behave yourselves, INEC warns politicians

Rivers Re-Run: behave yourselves, INEC warns politicians

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned political actors in the Saturday, December 10th 2016 Rivers Re-run elections to refrain from making comments or pronouncements that could either overheat the policy or instigate violence.

The appeal was contained in a press statement, signed and issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi.

According to the statement: “ the Commission condemns, in very strong terms, the relentless false allegations, provocative and dangerous comments being made by some political actors, especially the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike against the Commission, all of which are capable of inciting people to commit violent acts that could derail the election”.

Citing the Edo and Ondo governorship elections as positive pointers to the feat that could be achieved if all stakeholders do the needful, the Commission appealed to: “stakeholders to henceforth refrain from making pronouncements that could either overheat the state or instigate their followers to violence. It also appeals to all the political parties and their supporters to abide by all the extant laws governing the electoral process”.

The Commission reiterated its resolve to conclude the elections in Rivers State in a free, fair, and transparent manner on the scheduled date and called on eligible registered voters to come out to exercise their franchise and cooperate fully with the Commission and Security Agencies.

Below is the full text of the statement:

It will be recalled that in obedience to court orders resulting from disputes over the 2015 General Elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted re-run elections in Rivers State on 19th March, 2016, to fill various seats in the National and Rivers state House of Assembly. Unfortunately, the outbreak of violence forced the Commission to suspend the exercise.

 

At the time the elections were suspended, voting had:

  • ended in certain constituencies with the winners declared
  • been concluded in some areas but collation of results had not been completed

Besides, certain unauthorized persons had put the Commission’s officials under duress to declare results at some locations, while balloting did not take place at all in others.

 

In an effort to conclude the elections, the Commission held a Stakeholders’ Forum in Abuja on 30thJune, 2016, where it was agreed that the elections be held on 30th July, 2016. However, following persistent inflammatory comments by political actors in the state, an arson attack on the Commission’s office at Khana Local Government Area on 22ndJuly 2016 by unknown persons and credible security reports, it became impossible to hold the elections as planned.

 

After months of wide consultations with stakeholders aimed at creating a conducive atmosphere, the Commission announced on 3rd November 2016  that the elections would hold on Saturday 10th December 2016.

 

The Commission hereby restates its determination to conclude the elections in Rivers State in a free, fair, and transparent manner on the said Saturday, 10th December 2016. The recent Edo and Ondo governorship elections eloquently speak of the feat that can be achieved if all stakeholders do the needful. Therefore, eligible registered voters are encouraged to come out, exercise their franchise and cooperate fully with the Commission and Security Agencies.

 

However, the Commission condemns, in very strong terms, the relentless false allegations, provocative and dangerous comments being made by some political actors, especially the Governor of River State, Mr. NyesomWike against the Commission, all of which are capable of inciting people to commit violence acts that could derail the election.

 

It appeals to stakeholders to henceforth refrain from making pronouncements that could either overheat the state or instigate their followers to violence. It also appeals to all the political parties and their supporters to abide by all the extant laws governing the electoral process.

 

The Commission wishes to reassure all Nigerians that it will remain impartial and committed to conducting credible, fair and transparent elections at all times.

 

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