By Suleiman Adamu
Following the coup-styled and war-scale military invasion of several collation centres in Rivers State during the March 9, 2019 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the electoral process there.
According to a statement by INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education on Sunday, March 9, INEC explained the reason it took the decision.
“Based on reports from our officials in the field, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has determined that there has been widespread disruption of elections conducted on the 9th day of March 2019 in Rivers State.
“These initial reports suggest that violence occurred in a substantial number of polling units and collation centres. Staff have been taken hostage and materials including results sheets have either been seized or destroyed by unauthorized persons.
“In addition, safety of our staff appears to be in jeopardy through out the state and the commissioner is concerned about the credibility of the process.
“Consequently, at a meeting held today 10th March 2019, the Commission has decided to suspend all electoral processes in the state until further notice. This is in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Clause 47 (e) of the Regulation and Guidelines of the commission.
“The Commission has also set up a Fact-Finding Committee to access the situation and report back in 48 hours. We appeal to the people of Rivers State, particularly the voters, for their understanding as we look into the circumstances of these disruptions and what further actions needs to be taken.”