DLB CAMPAIGN ORGANIZATION
March 11, 2019
A CALL FOR OUTRIGHT CANCELLATION OF THE ILL-FATED MARCH 9, 2019 GOVERNORSHIP AND STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS IN RIVERS STATE
The suspension of all election processes in Rivers State as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC must have come to most well-meaning citizens and residents as a relief, considering the widespread outcry and condemnation of the conduct of the March 9, Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections in the state.
We commend INEC for the promptness in taking this decision at the time it did given the unfolding ugly situation in Rivers State which was heating up an already volatile political atmosphere. The March 9, elections in the state had not only recorded widespread incidents of disruptions of the electoral processes but has recorded the harassment and intimidation of voters and loss of lives of civilians and security personnel.
INECs action truncated the activities of bloodthirsty politicians who were already threatening more violence and bloodshed. The suspension of the electoral processes was a disappointment to the agents of destruction who were already threatening mayhem had INEC not stepped in.
From the events that characterized the March 9, 2019 Governorship and Assembly Elections, there is no doubt that INEC did the right and appropriate thing by suspending the electoral processes in Rivers State. This has restored faith and confidence in a process that was marred by violence, thuggery and militarization of the entire process.
Based on graphic and detailed reports from our agents across Rivers State, we state as follows that:
1. Thugs and cultists, some of them armed with lethal weapons, said to be acting in the interest of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP invaded several voting units, intimidating voters, carting away electoral materials, harassing INEC staff and generating fake results in areas under their forceful control.
2. In the same manner, alleged influential supporters and thugs of a hitherto obscure party, the African Action Congress AAC, unleashed terror on the state with the supposed backing of state security agencies. The AAC gang also invaded several voting units under their control, intimidating voters, carting away electoral materials, harassing INEC staff and generating their own version of election results.
3. The Rivers State electorate was on March 9, said to be caught between the armed thugs/cultists of the PDP and the state security agencies supporting the AAC.
4. Media houses are awash with bizarre stories of abducted, intimidated, harassed INEC staff, held hostage in covert locations and compelled at gun-point to announce results of phantom elections, which in the words of the INEC staff were not true reflections of what transpired at the polling units and collation centers, but results already computed and tabulated by their captors and abductors.
5. The persons who perpetrated these wanton destructions of electoral materials, harassment and abduction of electoral officers, disruptions of the electoral process and hijacking of already completed ballots with the intent to mutilate and falsify the results from such areas, acted with audacity, impunity and operated freely in subverting the electoral process and the law of the land.
6. The overwhelming presence of the military apparently to check the activities of armed youths and forestall the subversion of the electoral process, created a tensed atmosphere which scared away and discouraged voters and accounted for very low turnout during the elections.
Against the backdrop of the these severe discrepancies, which are clear contraventions of the Electoral Law 2010 (as amended) and the regulation and guidelines for the conduct of elections 2019, we hereby demand the following:
1. The outright cancellation of the March 9, 2019 Rivers state Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections in Rivers State and rescheduling of the elections within the stipulated timeframe of the Electoral Law.
2. The redeployment from the state of all critical staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC who participated and were involved in the March 9 election in Rivers State because of the general trauma they have suffered from their harassment, abduction and intimidation.
3. The arrest and prosecution of persons, no matter how highly placed, who were responsible for these electoral frauds that have put Rivers State into disrepute and embarrassed the country.
4. We call on patriotic Rivers people to stand up and save the state from the machinations of bloodthirsty politicians and avert the impending gloom and bloodbath which hovers over Rivers state.
Rt. Hon. Iyk Oji, JP