INEC Declares Rivers State Rerun Elections Inconclusive

Women from communities in Rivers state protest against irregularities in voting in the weekend's election, at Port Harcourt March 30, 2015. The head of Nigeria's election commission admitted on Sunday he was concerned about allegations of irregularities in voting in this weekend's election in southern, oil producing Rivers state, where hundreds of opposition supporters have been protesting. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Women from communities in Rivers state protest against irregularities in voting in the weekend’s election, at Port Harcourt March 30, 2015. Photo/REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the announcement of results of Saturday’s National and State Assembly rerun election in Rivers state.

Nigerianreporter.com had earlier on Saturday reported that some ad hoc staff of INEC failed to report to their respected polling units for fear of been attacked by thugs or miscreants while others arrived late to where they had been assigned.

It was also reported that fake and copied result materials were discovered at the time of the election. This came as at least six people were killed in election violence in three local government areas.

In a detailed statement issued by the Director of Voter Education and Publicity of INEC, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, blamed the level of threats, violence and intimidation of election officials and voters on well armed thugs and miscreants allegedly acting on behalf of some politicians, which marred the election in some areas.

The Director of Voter Education and Publicity of the INEC released the following statement:

Pursuant to the Orders of the Court of Appeal, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted elections into various seats in the National and the Rivers State House of Assembly the 19th of March, 2016.

Rather unfortunately, some of these elections witnessed the disruption of the process, including the barricading of some of the INEC Local Government offices and Registration Area Centres(RACs) used for the distribution of electoral materials which led to the late commencement of the exercise in some places and consequently, its smooth take off.

Of more serious concern was the level of threats, violence and intimidation of election officials and voters by well armed thugs and miscreants allegedly acting on behalf of some politicians, which marred the elections in some areas. There were reports of numerous attacks resulting in fatalities, kidnappings, ballot snatching, diversion of officials and materials, amongst others, which necessitated its suspension in 8 Local Government Areas.

Regrettably, such deviant behavior has continued today. Several permanent and ad hoc staff engaged have been attacked, again resulting in fatalities, while some have been forcibly abducted and taken to presently unknown destinations.

Under such difficult circumstances, the Returning Officers were only able to collate and declare results in 1 Federal and 9 State constituencies where the disruption and malpractices were not so widespread.

Having reviewed the situation, the Commission is compelled to suspend all further action concerning the exercise in all the other constituencies in the State pending the receipt of a comprehensive report from its Field Officials and Monitors. For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that the suspension does not affect the constituencies where the exercise has been completed and the results declared by the Returning Officers.