By Kalada Jumbo
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed that results from 17 out of the 23 Local Government Areas in Rivers State in the Saturday, March 9 governorship election.
This was disclosed in a statement signed on on Friday, March 16, by Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee.
According to the statement, the commission made the declaration after its meeting on Friday where it considered the report of the Fact-Finding Committee set up to assess the situation in Rivers where election process was suspended.
On March 10, INEC announced the suspension of the electoral process in Rivers State following what it described as widespread disruption of collation of results of the elections conducted on March 9.
It subsequently, set up a Fact-Finding Committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.
INEC said the Commission met on Friday and considered the report of the Committee and established that the Governorship and state House of Assembly elections took place in most of the polling units and results were announced.
“That the results from 17 Local Governments out of 23 are available and are in the Commission’s custody.
“That the Declaration and Returns for 21 State Constituencies out of 32 were made prior to the suspension.
“That collation centres were invaded by some soldiers and armed gangs resulting in the intimidation and unlawful arrest of election officials thereby disrupting the collation process,” he said.
The INEC statement said consequent upon the foregoing, the Commission was committed to expeditious completion of the collation process where results of the elections had been announced.
It added that INEC would issue detailed timelines and activities for the completion of the election on Wednesday, March 20.
According to statement, the commission expresses its displeasure with the role played by some soldiers and armed gangs in the state, disrupting the collation process and attempting to subvert the will of the people.
Okoye said “INEC will engage the security agencies at national level and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee at the state level to demand neutrality and professionalism of security personnel in order to secure a peaceful environment for the completion of the elections.
“The commission will also engage with key stakeholders in Rivers State with a view to ensuring a smooth and peaceful completion of the process.”