Rivers youths accuse INEC of bias

Youths in Rivers State yesterday protested the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) delay in releasing the result of last Saturday’s elections.

Protesting were three civil society groups – International Society for Social Justice and Human Right, Advocate for Peace and Electoral Right Defence and Education Network.

They accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Obot Efanga, of bias, and called on the National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to order him to announce the results so far collated.

The protesters, about 5,000, dressed in white, were singing anti-Governor Nyesom Wike songs. They praised the military for providing security during the elections.

Group leader Dr. Omenazu Jackson blamed the violence that occured during the election on poor governance and harsh leadership, which he insisted must stop.

He said: “Our people are not animals; killing is not one of the traits of an average Rivers man, our lifestyle does not include maiming, killing and burning of houses. An average Rivers man, who has Rivers blood, is peaceful.

“We are telling the world that today, our military men are being killed, our police officers are being abducted and killed, this has given this state a negative publicity. We appeal that these things should stop.

“It is against the electoral law and the constitution that peoples’ votes are not announced after voting. On that premise, INEC has infringed on the people’s right to know their next governor. We beg INEC to release the results so far collated in the interest of peace.

“We have seen and observed that the present INEC leadership is partisan, and when an umpire becomes partisan, it is a dangerous signal against to the society.

“We call on INEC National Chairman Mamoud Yakubu to direct the state REC to release results of the governorship and House of Assembly elections collated, after which he should be redeployed and tried for partisanship, he is a dangerous signal to INEC.”

The joint military taskforce is still blocking the two access roads to INEC office, causing vehicles enroute Port Harcourt/Aba expressway to divert to either sides of the GRA phases 2 and 5.

The situation caused difficulties for road users, especially those who travel with public transportation. Worse hit are those whose offices are within the INEC zone and the water line junction/Olu Obasanjo Road, who were forced to go round the Le Meridian Hotel area of the GRA to get to their destination.


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